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).
Shifting Risks to Customers (CWIP)
Construction Work in Progress laws (CWIP, aka Advanced Cost Recovery, aka Annual Rate Hike Bills) allow utilities to charge customers in advance for the cost of building expensive new plants that aren’t even needed — even if those plants never go online.
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A class-action lawsuit was filed against Duke Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light Co. alleging the monopoly electricity providers force millions of Florida customers to pay unlawful charges in connection with their electricity rates to fund the companies’ nuclear power plant projects, some of which have been abandoned. The suit … accuses Duke Energy Florida and FPL of overcharging through unconstitutional price hikes that increase customers’ electricity bills in order to fund nuclear construction costs.
During yesterday’s day-long hearing before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) on the 13thsemi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring report, expert witnesses on behalf of the PSC predicted that additional delays beyond the current 39-month delay are likely for the two nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia along the Savannah River. Though five years into the project, only 26 percent of construction is complete.
The biggest construction project in Georgia is also becoming one of the biggest budget busters in state history. And nearly every Georgian with a monthly electric bill may end up paying for it.
State legislators, apparently waking from a long winter’s nap, are introducing measures that would crack down on big power companies like Duke Energy Florida that are relentlessly gouging ratepayers.
In 2014, Duke’s delivered little but calamity, especially in Florida, where customers serve as company punching bags. But even in its home state of North Carolina, Duke fumbled. Now it’s busy downplaying a horrible environmental spill of its own making. A toxic sludge of 39,000 tons of arsenic-laced coal ash and 27,000 gallons of contaminated water now coats nearly 70 miles of the once-scenic Dan River.
In a state where economic, energy and environmental concerns grow more intensely intertwined, the assertive environmental nonprofit group NC WARN is working with the conservative nonprofit John Locke Foundation to sponsor two public forums calling for increased competition in the electricity market.
NC WARN today told new Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good we are astonished that Duke Energy is still considering buying into the VC Summer nuclear construction project after South Carolina regulators recently reiterated earlier warnings that the project is suffering enormous problems despite intensive efforts to correct them.