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Dashed Hopes For Duke's Automatic Rate Increase?

North Carolina's top advocate for utilities customers has reversed his position and no longer supports a proposal that would make it easier for utility companies to recover some of the costs of building nuclear plants. Duke Energy and Progress Energy had been seeking legislation to guarantee an annual rate increase to help pay for new nuclear plants. The Executive Director of the Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission, Robert Gruber, has previously said he supported the concept. But the Charlotte Business Journal reports Gruber has changed his mind, at least for now. According to the Business Journal: Gruber says the nuclear crisis in Japan may drive construction costs for new nuclear plants in the United States prohibitively high. He says the only prudent course is to put off any legislation until federal regulators establish new safety rules based on lessons learned at the four crippled Fukushima