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.
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Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good recently promised investors they could count on “multiple rate cases” in both of the corporation’s Carolinas service areas beginning next year – to fund seemingly endless construction of fracked gas power plants and clean-up of coal ash. Separately, she promised to boost rates and profits via a $16 billion electric “grid modernization” scheme that an expert for the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) testified could, on its own, raise residential rates by up to 50 percent.
Duke Energy’s proposed side deal at the 11th hour of an already controversial rate case continues drawing opposition from consumer watchdogs, industrial customers, tech giants and environmental groups. It appears the vaguely worded deal could bring an initial rate hike of 26 percent over the first three years – while becoming a perpetual tax on customers.
Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported Wednesday. The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped.
Today NC WARN filed a motion calling for the NC Utilities Commission to reject a secretive, last minute settlement between Duke Energy and several organizations that would open the floodgates for huge, streamlined rate hikes with no guarantee of benefit to anyone other than corporate stockholders.
See coverage in Greensboro News & Record
The competition from solar and wind, along with abundant low-priced gas produced by fracking, is curbing orders for new plants and forcing the closure of old ones. Some utilities are even filing for bankruptcy. “That means companies are going to have trouble selling new fossil-fuel plants,” said Mark Dyson, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, an organization that researches the power industry.
Groups say approval of Atlantic Coast Pipeline cheated vulnerable residents out of federal civil rights protections for low-income communities and people of color. Letter to Connie Walker, President and General Manager of WUNC Radio, on the continuing news media failure in covering Duke Energy, fracked gas and accelerating climate urgency.
See coverage in the N&O
See coverage in the Progressive Pulse
See coverage in Inside Climate News
An environmental group and a largely African-American church tried to challenge North Carolina’s utility monopoly by generating cheap, clean power. They lost.
Regarding today’s NC Supreme Court ruling against the NC WARN-Faith Community Church partnership in our two-year Solar Freedom test case: It’s very unfortunate that Duke Energy remains able to protect its monopoly against clean competition and to keep stifling the growth of cheaper solar power across North Carolina.
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Article by Inside Climate News
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