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Cooper: Progress rate increase unfair to customers

Posted July 1, 2013

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— Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday that a 7.5 percent rate increase that the North Carolina Utilities Commission awarded in May to Duke Energy for former Progress Energy customers isn't fair to customers.

Cooper filed an appeal with the North Carolina Supreme Court in an effort to rescind the increase, which went into effect last month.

The increase adds more than $7 to the monthly bill of an average residential customer.

The appeal cites a Supreme Court ruling in April that struck down a 7.2 percent increase the Utilities Commission awarded to Duke last year. The court ordered the agency to evaluate the impact on consumers to determine an appropriate rate.

That ruling should serve as a guide in determining all electric rate increases, Cooper said, adding that the latest increase is too steep for Duke Energy Progress customers.

"Just talking about how consumers are hurting isn’t enough. As required by the North Carolina Supreme Court, we need a true analysis of what this rate hike would really mean for consumers during these challenging economic times," he said in a statement, noting that customers who spoke at public hearings on the proposed increase were vehemently opposed to it.

The Duke Energy Progress rate increase would allow company shareholders to make a 10.2 percent profit.

"Many people are already hard pressed to pay their bills, and now isn’t the time to ask them to pay more so utilities can make a bigger profit," Cooper said.

24 Comments

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  • Tax Man Jul 5, 3:57 p.m.

    When they took over Progress Energy we were told the rates would be significantly lower due to the reduced operating expenses and combined efforts and assets of the two companies. So where is that rate reduction????? Hold them to what they told us

  • djofraleigh Jul 2, 7:01 p.m.

    Lower the rates!

  • whatelseisnew Jul 2, 5:40 p.m.

    "So it seems they 'evaluated' and decided that 7.5 was a better increase over 7.2?????? And NOW I understand YET ANOTHER rate hike request in in the works....."

    During these kinds of challenges, State law allows the power companies to collect the amounts that were approved by the Utility commission. That has been that way a long time. If at the end the increase is reduced (I do not think that has happened) the power companies have to reimburse the customers for any amount that was over-collected.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 2, 5:37 p.m.

    "If the rate increase stands, I'll invest in DEP to get that 10% profit."

    I used to own Duke stock. I sold it around a year ago at a tidy profit. I moved on to something else.

  • whatelseisnew Jul 2, 5:35 p.m.

    "Many people are already hard pressed to pay their bills, and now isn’t the time to ask them to pay more so utilities can make a bigger profit," Cooper said"

    I wonder, will Cooper call for an analysis on what the wake school bond will do to people? that increase in my property taxes is far more than the increase of this electric rate increase. Plus perhaps cooper should get in touch with Obama, he does not seem to care about electricity rates going up. Final point, to the best of my knowledge Government makes 100 percent profit on every dime it collects and unlike electricity which I can CHOOSE not to use or reduce my usage, I am forced at gunpoint to hand over as much money as government decides to demand from me.

  • joeBob Jul 2, 3:24 p.m.

    If the rate increase stands, I'll invest in DEP to get that 10% profit.

  • V-Vet 72-75 Jul 2, 10:47 a.m.

    And this rate increase surprised who? I wish Cooper luck but I don't think he will win his case. To many powerful money people involved here. Including some of our glorious legislators.

  • Mom120 Jul 2, 10:21 a.m.

    well my light bill sure went up this month

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 2, 9:57 a.m.

    The rate hike also mean an increase in sale tax revenue for the state. So don't expect too much reduction. Our state needs to money to waste...er, I mean to spend for many improvements.

  • Scubagirl Jul 2, 9:27 a.m.

    "The Duke Energy Progress rate increase would allow company shareholders to make a 10.2 percent profit."

    AND as a shareholder as well as an unwilling customer, I will give up my 10.2% profit to NOT have a 7.5% rate increase.

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