Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of households in North Carolina have fallen behind on their electric, gas and/or water bills as a result of the pandemic and economic crisis. At the end of November, more than 650,000 households were past due on their bills, owing nearly $150 million. Appalachian Voices has put together a detailed guide to help you “Know Your Rights” as a utility customer, especially if you are facing disconnection because you cannot pay your bill.
Duke Energy & State Regulators
NC WARN regularly challenges Duke Energy to make a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and energy efficiency. We intervene at the NC Utilities Commission in cases involving Duke’s rate increases and 15-year Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs). And we have repeatedly reached out directly to the corporation’s executives, seeking to collaborate with them on finding ways to avert climate catastrophe. A few examples are listed here.
- Check out the new coalition: Energy Justice NC: End the Duke Monopoly
- Duke Energy page on Energy & Policy Institute website
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Despite “climate plan” and greenwashing TV ads, 15-year Carolinas plan leaves Duke a national laggard on cheaper renewable power. In the Carolinas, Duke plans to greatly expand its burning of fracked gas – and expand coal use – even as dozens of its gas units sit totally unused, while continuing to limit the growth of cheaper renewable power.
“Net-zero” goals proliferate, but speed, integrity of commitments varies greatly. The country’s top emitting utilities are on decarbonization pathways that are too slow to meet the climate goals set forth by President-Elect Joseph Biden.
Reducing methane emissions is crucial for limiting climate change in the near term. Doing so can provide vital benefits, including fewer people dying from air pollution and heat waves and harmed by powerful storms and wildfires. The climate crisis demands that we stop building fossil fuel infrastructure immediately.
“The climate crisis demands that we stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure immediately,” Duke University climate scientist Drew Shindell, 40 former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials and leaders of the environmental group NC WARN wrote to Cooper and Duke Energy on Sept. 14.
Rita Leadem with the environmental group NC Warn said many of the grid upgrades are unnecessary and that Duke should invest more in solar energy. “The smarter investment at this time would really be in the clean energy resources, backed up with battery storage, that would provide the resiliency that we need and really pave the way forward,” she said.
As a long-awaited hearing begins next Monday, attorneys for NC WARN and allies will firmly oppose Duke Energy’s request for yet another electricity rate hike even as the Utilities Commission’s Public Staff and other parties recently announced settlements with Duke on portions of the rate request.
See coverage by WFAE
A coalition of environmental groups have petitioned N.C. regulators to rule Duke Energy and other utilities must get regulatory approval before modifying coal plants to burn natural gas. Jim Warren, executive director of the Durham-based watchdog group NC WARN, which is one of the petitioners, says it appears Duke is “spending millions on Band-Aids for coal plants instead of retiring them.”
Climate-justice groups filed a legal petition with the North Carolina Utilities Commission today asserting that Duke Energy — one of the top polluting U.S. utilities — is violating state law by quietly building large amounts of inefficient gas-burning capacity without commission approval.
See coverage of our petition in The Charlotte Business Journal
The proposed natural gas pipeline through eastern North Carolina is dead. Long live natural gas! Admittedly, there won’t be a coronation ceremony like there would be if a living monarch were replacing a deceased one.But when it comes to reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly ways to power a 21st-century economy, natural gas is still king. Its reign will continue for many decades, despite the successful effort by left-wing activists to litigate the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to death.