State ethics investigators are moving forward on a complaint by NC WARN alleging an improper relationship between Duke Energy and Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue. The 2019 complaint says Blue was lead promoter of hotly contested – and ultimately failed – legislation sought by Duke Energy while his family law firm was suing 32 landowners to make way for the proposed Atlantic Coast fracked gas Pipeline.
Senate Bill 559 as originally written could have allowed electric monopolies to gouge customers for billions in bogus charges and get a single regulatory approval for five-year blocks of annual rate increases – all with even less public and regulatory oversight than exists under the current system. Every stakeholder group opposed the bill – business big and small, consumer, clean energy and environmental justice groups. Only Duke and its political cronies promoted it, and the bill was ultimately stripped of the harmful annual rate hike provisions.
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NC WARN and many diverse allies gained a major win yesterday with the defeat – after seven intense months – of Duke Energy’s $23 billion ‘ratepayer rip-off bill’ (SB 559). This is a major blow against Duke Energy’s dirty business model including its massive expansion of climate-wrecking fracked gas.
Thanks to all the NC WARN members and allies for keeping the pressure on the legislature. Linked here is a statement by Appalachian Voices on behalf of the Energy Justice NC Coalition.
In response to a petition filed last November by NC WARN and Friends of the Earth, the NC Utilities Commission today proposed rules that would prohibit Duke Energy’s public utilities from charging ratepayers for political contributions, charitable contributions and lobbying expenses.
The state Senate vote yesterday on Duke Energy’s highly controversial “alternative ratemaking” bill and subsequent appointments to a conference committee clearly show the utility company’s undue influence over the legislative and public policy process, says the Energy Justice for North Carolina (EJNC) coalition.
Senate Bill 559, approved by the Senate, is awaiting approval in the state House, where it is sitting in committee. The bill, which Duke Energy heavily lobbied for, consists of two parts — the first related to storm recovery funding and the second, more controversial part related to expanding rate-setting options.
The Energy Justice North Carolina Coalition released a report today detailing the influence of Duke Energy’s campaign contributions on state legislators’ support for Duke-sponsored bills together with a new, interactive web tool that tracks political contributions from electric monopolies like Duke.
Duke is making a lot of noise in its attempt to divert attention from the massive cost exposure potential related to the alternative rate mechanism proposal by focusing attention on the securitization section of SB559. Parkdale’s opposition is with Duke’s proposed multi-year ratemaking and return-on-equity banding, which will result in enormous rate hikes on all North Carolinians and businesses.
Letter to the Editor by Jim Warren. Duke Energy’s Senate Bill 559 is indeed a Trojan Horse (oped June 1). The bill – which could be worth tens of billions for Duke – is as lousy as the deceptive process pushing it forward.
Duke Energy is pushing a Trojan horse – which, while disguised as legislation to give state regulators more flexibility, would permit Duke to earn excessive profits at customers’ expense without the comprehensive scrutiny it currently receives from regulators.
Key provisions to extend the period of time between utility company rate cases are embedded within N.C. Senate Bill 559, being debated at the N.C. General Assembly. Similar provisions hurt Virginia customers, and will hurt North Carolina customers, too.