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NC panel signs off on Duke Energy orders on rates, coal ash

On Friday, the N.C. Utilities Commission approved two orders involving Duke Energy’s two electric subsidiaries in the state over rate increases requested back in 2019 and a settlement announced in January by Duke Energy, Attorney General Josh Stein and a conservation group over how coal ash clean-up cost.

According to the Triad Business Journal, the commission approved “what is likely about a 5.5% rate hike for Duke Energy Progress, cutting the request for a 12.3%, $445.3 million increase to something around $300 million”.

Under the settlement approved by the commission, Duke Energy agreed to pay over $1 billion to recycle the ash and close the plants producing them, but the amount covered by the company’s 3.4 million customers would be reduced from the previous $4 billion through 2030 to $3 billion.

The approved agreement essentially makes customers still liable for the majority of Duke Energy’s mess, which resulted in one of the biggest coal ash spills in the county due to their negligence

The approved rate hikes comes as about 435,000 people are already at risk of eviction statewide due to the financial devastation COVID-19 has caused. While many are struggling to choose between rent, utilities and food, Duke Energy has been approved to impose additional increases on its customers.

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Alanna Joyner