Duke Energy Seeking 16.7 Percent Rate Increase

Duke Energy has asked the NC Utilities Commission to allow them to increase rates they charge for residential and commercial customers.

The filing says more than 50 percent of the rate increase request is related to the power company’s investments in cleaner energy generation, including solar and natural gas.

The proposed rate increase for residential customers would be 16.7 percent, while commercial and industrial customers would see an average increase of 13.5 percent.

“Our customers tell us they want electricity that is more reliable and increasingly clean, and they also want more value and choice every day,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “It is critical that we, as their energy provider, balance these needs with smart investments that keep costs reasonable and keep North Carolina competitive.”

Duke Energy Progress serves 1.3 million electric customers in central and eastern North Carolina and in the Asheville region.

Based on these investments, the filing with the N.C. Utilities Commission (NCUC) requests to increase revenues by about $477 million, for an overall average rate increase across all customer classes of 14.9 percent. The specific increase for individual customers would vary, depending on the rate they pay.

If the proposal is approved, a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity monthly would pay about $122.48 per month. Duke Energy Progress has requested options to spread recovery of certain costs over multiple years to reduce the immediate impact on customer bills.

Duke Energy Progress says even with the proposed rate hike their overall rates will still be below the national average, stating customers would continue to pay rates lower than in 1987, when adjusted for inflation.

“We are transitioning to a cleaner generation mix, closing older, less-efficient coal-fired plants and shifting to natural gas, carbon-free nuclear and expanded solar energy,” said Fountain. “Through these investments, we are providing customers cleaner, more reliable energy and have laid the foundation for a smarter energy future from which all North Carolinians can benefit.”

Duke Energy Progress has retired more than half of its older, less-efficient coal plants that do not have state-of-the-art emission controls, and replaced them with cleaner, natural gas plants. The utility also supports the sustainable growth of solar energy, helping move North Carolina to second in the nation for overall solar power.

Investments include:

  • Highly efficient natural gas power plants in Wilmington and Asheville that continue to reduce carbon emissions
  • Four solar sites that provide emissions-free energy to Carolinas homes and businesses

The requested increase also includes costs associated with significant repairs for damage caused by Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Hermine in 2016, and Winter Storms Jonas in January, Petros in February and a Feb. 15th ice storm.

Duke Energy serves approximately 7.5 million customers in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. The company’s Gas Utilities and Infrastructure business unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its Commercial Renewables business unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the United States.

Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK.