Duke back to Utilities Commission with rate hike request

Duke Energy residential customers in North Carolina may see a rate increase of nearly 12 percent if the rate hike request filed by Duke this week is granted by the NC Utilities Commission. Duke Energy filed for an overall increase of 9.7 percent.

More than 90 percent of the request is driven by capital investments that Duke Energy Carolinas has made in the electric system that serves 1.9 million households and businesses in North Carolina.

Duke Officials say those capital investments include two new state-of-the art power plants that are promised to provide cleaner air and provide reliability to customers.

Utility watchdog group NC WARN is challenging this rate hike request, along with others. Jim Warren spokesman of that group says a trend is developing that puts the risk of power generation on residential customers, “We think that it’s unlawful the way they are doing that. They’re forcing smaller customers to pay the lion’s share of their costs.”

NC WARN also accuses Duke of cutting secret deals with larger customers that they feel are undemocratic.

Currently, a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month pays $102.72. If the company’s rate increase is approved as filed, that bill will increase by $14.27.