The NC Utilities Commission ordered this state’s Duke Energy Carolinas customers to pay $545 million for coal ash negligence and $347 million for the utility’s 13-year, failed effort to begin construction of twin nuclear reactors – a project now cancelled. Even more shameful is that the commission granted Duke a roughly 10 percent mark-up on the coal ash mistake by corporate execs, just as it did in the Duke Progress case earlier this year.
Coal & Coal Ash
Due to its size, Duke Energy is pivotal in the fight over coal vs climate. NC WARN and allies blocked the first of two Cliffside units Duke wanted to build – by proving it wasn’t necessary — and continued to struggle against the second unit. We have been protesting Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash spill into the Dan River, and working to ensure that North Carolina electricity customers do not foot the bill for the cleanup of the Dan River and Duke’s other coal ash sites.
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Shameful as it is that the NC Utilities Commission last month ordered customers to pay hundreds of millions for Duke Energy’s coal ash negligence in the Duke-Progress rate case…what’s even more shameful is that the Commission granted Duke a 10 percent mark-up on coal ash in the Progress case and that Duke’s seeking the same for coal ash and the nuclear boondoggle in the Carolinas case.
First off, let’s face the hard truth. After several weeks of expert testimony that ended Thursday in Raleigh, it’s a pretty good bet your light bill is going up later this year. Like it or not, your bill’s probably going up to deal with coal ash waste generated for decades by coal-fired power plants and never given a proper burial.
Letter to the Editor from Jim Warren. The author of “Cooper should crack down on Duke Energy’s hazards” (Nov. 29) was courageous in calling out Duke Energy’s hazardous practices and stranglehold on our democracy. The third leg of Duke’s business model – along with building unneeded power plants and raising rates – is spending tens of millions annually to distort and suppress debate. Read more, including Duke Energy’s response.
Key hearings on Duke Energy’s request to raise household electricity rates 16.7 percent, once slated to begin today, has been delayed a week as government attorneys tasked with representing the public negotiate with the electric utility.
The change would increase the typical residential bill $17.80 a month, or about $214 a year. That includes a significant increase in the base rate people pay regardless of how much power they use.
North Carolina’s utility customer advocate proposes all but eliminating Duke Energy Progress’ 14% rate hike, recommending that regulators cut it to an increase of less than one-tenth of a percent. Duke’s hike had proposed an increase in the annual revenue requirement by $419 million. Instead, the Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission proposes that increase go up by just $2.8 million.
North Carolina’s utility customer advocate and Attorney General’s office argue Duke Energy Progress customers should not bear all the $311.4 million in coal-ash cleanup costs the utility seeks in its 14% rate hike request.
China, on the other hand, is doing the opposite. Coal is on the way out and solar power is coming in. On a farm in northern China, they are planting a new crop: Nearly 200,000 solar panels in the heart of coal country. [includes video]
Dozens of Duke Energy customers told the North Carolina Utilities Commission Monday to reject a proposed rate increase, citing the impact on low-income families and the proposed use of funds to manage coal ash sites.
Do you think you should pay for Duke Energy’s coal ash cleanup and for nuclear plants that will never be built? 150 turned out to say no at a public hearing in Raleigh on Duke Energy-Progress’s nearly 17% residential rate hike request (see news reports here). If you agree with them, come speak out at the Asheville, Snow Hill or Wilmington hearing (details here and here).