North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says a proposed settlement that would allow Duke Energy to begin charging customers for electric grid improvements is unfair to ratepayers. That's in a filing with utilities regulators Friday in response to Duke's proposed agreement with a group of environmental and business groups.
In the filing, the attorney general warns if the agreement is adopted, it will add an extra 6 percent to residential customers' bills over three years. He says it would benefit shareholders and shift risks to ratepayers.
On June 1, Duke said it had reached an agreement with the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, as well as a group of retail and department stores. It would put a three-year limit on customer charges for Duke's planned 10-year, $7.8 billion plan to upgrade to its power distribution network. Duke also agreed to spend $25 million on vehicle charging stations by 2021; to improve efficiency, security and reliability; and to install more battery storage in rural areas.
But other environmental groups and consumer advocates have since come out against the agreement.
The attorney general urged the North Carolina Utilities Commission to not approve the grid modernization program.
Duke also is awaiting a decision by regulators on a request for a 10 percent rate hike in its western North Carolina territory, including Charlotte. That could come this week.
Read the attorney general's filing opposing the grid modernization agreement, at NCUC.net