Duke Energy still seeks rate hikes even as profits are up
Duke Energy turned a profit of $660 million for the last three months of 2019, up 42% from a year ago. This comes after Duke Energy’s proposed rate hike request to raise over $123 MILLION on the backs of rate-payers to pay for their toxic coal ash clean up.
Duke CEO Lynn Good told analysts Thursday the company expects profits to keep growing at 4 to 6% a year through at least 2024. And the company plans to expand its program of investments in new plants and the electric grid, she said.
Duke reported earnings per share of 91 cents during the quarter, excluding one-time expenses. That beat the 88-cent average estimate of Wall Street estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.
If approved by the NC Utilities Commission, Duke Energy is seeking to raise electricity rates on its customers by an average of $8 / month for residents or almost $100 / year to pay for coal ash clean-up.
And yet, profits for all of 2019 rose to $3.75 billion — up 40% from 2018 — while revenues were up, too, to $25.1 billion. Revenues and profits rose across all three of Duke Energy’s businesses — electricity, gas, and commercial renewable energy.
In addition, Duke Energy has given more than $1.5 million to North Carolina legislators in the past decade. Just last year, the state Utilities Commission authorized Duke Energy to pass coal ash cleanup costs on to blameless ratepayers instead of paying to clean up their own mess out of their corporate shareholder profits.
Numerous public hearing will be held across the state in the next few weeks to discuss Duke Energy’s proposed rate hike. Hundreds of communities have been impacted by Duke Energy’s negligence and with recent financial reports, the energy giant has well over the capacity to pay for their own clean up.
So why must ratepayers pay the bill? The legislature should call a special session to stop Duke Energy from making ratepayers foot the bill for Duke’s own toxic mess.