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Save-A-Watt to Raise Significant Money for Duke

New details have emerged about Duke Energy's proposed conservation program, called Save-A-Watt, which would add one dollar to the average monthly electric bill. The Charlotte-based power company says Save-A-Watt would generate revenue of $327 million during its first four years in North Carolina. Critics say that's far too much, even though Duke says $263 million of that money will cover the cost to run the program and recuperate lost income from customers using less electricity. Duke Energy officials promise to reinvest the remaining $63 million into other conservation programs. But after four years, Duke spokesman Andy Thompson says that would probably change. "Since we're investor owned and have to show a profit and return for our investors, we would certainly want to earn revenue from that program, just as we earn revenue from a power plant," says Thompson. Thompson says the profits are a fair incentive for Duke to encourage significant energy conservation. A state-appointed watchdog for consumers disagrees and has proposed a plan that would cost less for customers. Duke hopes to receive approval from North Carolina regulators by year's end.