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Regulators Schedule January Hearings On Duke Energy Rate Hike

Duke Energy meter
Duke Energy

State regulators have scheduled public hearings in January on Duke Energy's request to raise rates an average of 6% in its western Carolinas territory, which includes Charlotte. 

Four hearings are planned, including one Jan. 30 at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is seeking public comment before it takes up the rate hike in March. 

Duke filed its application for the increase Sept. 30, saying it needs the extra revenue to pay for building new power plants, converting existing coal plants to gas, cleaning up toxic coal ash, and investing in new technologies to improve reliability and efficiency. 

The proposed rate increase would raise an extra $445.3 million a year from customers. Duke said that would be offset partially by a simultaneous rate reduction of $154.6 million in savings from federal tax cuts. That would leave a net revenue increase of $290.8 million. 

Regulators say a typical electric customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would pay an extra $5.72 a month under the proposal, raising the typical monthly bill from $102.71 to $108.43.

Here's the full hearing schedule: 

  • Jan. 15, 7 p.m., Macon County Courthouse, 5 W. Main St., Franklin
  • Jan. 16, 7 p.m., Burke County Courthouse, 201 S. Green St., Morganton
  • Jan. 29, 7 p.m., Alamance County Historic Courthouse, 1 SE Court Square, Graham
  • Jan. 30, 7 p,m., Mecklenburg County Courthouse, 832 E. 4th St., Courtroom 5350, Charlotte

The full commission will open evidentiary hearings on the rate hike on March 23, 2020, at 2 p.m. in commission Hearing Room 2115 of  the Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.
Separately, Duke has also requested a rate increase in its Duke Energy Progress territory, which includes eastern North Carolina and the Asheville area. 

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.