Raleigh, N.C. — 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.