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WFAE reporter David Boraks explores how the way we live influences climate change and its impact across the Carolinas. You also can read additional national and international climate news.

Duke Energy wants to raise rates 16% for central and western NC

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David Boraks
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WFAE
If the request is approved, electric rates would go up over three years in Duke Energy's central and western North Carolina territory.

Duke Energy is asking state regulators for a 15.7% rate increase over three years for central and western North Carolina, including Charlotte.

Duke says the rate hikes would raise an additional $823 million to upgrade the electric grid, improve reliability during storms and prepare for more renewable energy and electric vehicles.

The Duke Energy Carolinas request affects customers from Durham to Greensboro to Charlotte and the western part of the state.

If approved, rates would rise 9.5% overall next Jan. 1, 3.3% in 2025 and 2.9% in 2026. The increases would be slightly higher for residential customers — 10.5% in 2024, 3.8% in 2025 and 3.6% in 2026, or 17.9% over three years. A typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would wind up paying $19.97 a month more in the third year. Duke says that would still be below the current national average electric bill.

“Our customers expect us to deliver reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy every day,” Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president, said in a press release. “We’re very mindful of the financial pressures our customers face. Our rates are well below the national average, and we remain committed to keeping rates as low as possible.”

These are the only rate increases on the way from Duke. The request includes some, but not all the increases proposed in Duke's long-range plan for reducing power plant emissions, known as the carbon plan. A spokesman said this request includes $200 million for new transmission lines and facilities in areas with a high density of solar farms. The company has said the carbon plan could raise bills as much as 35% over 10 years.

Duke also has requested a 16% rate hike for eastern North Carolina and the Asheville area, served by Duke Energy Progress. The North Carolina Utilities Commission has scheduled hearings in March on that case. Hearings for Duke Energy Carolinas are expected this summer.

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Duke Energy
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Duke Energy Carolinas rates would rise an average of 15.7% over three years under the request. Here's how they break out by customer classes.

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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.