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Cooper's battle against Duke rate increases wages on

Posted August 21, 2013

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— Attorney General Roy Cooper is urging state regulators to reject Duke Energy's proposed rate increase, his latest salvo in an ongoing war against the Charlotte-based utility over higher electric rates.

The state Utilities Commission is considering Duke's request to raise rates by 4.5 percent overall, increasing to 5 percent after two years. If approved, the increase would be the third since 2009 for customers of Duke Energy Carolinas, which serves the western part of the Triangle and much of western North Carolina.

“People are already struggling to pay their bills and utilities want to raise rates yet again,” Cooper in a statement. “We’ll continue to fight these increases that fail to adequately take consumers into account.”

He cited an analysis by Moody’s that shows that North Carolinians pay a higher percentage of their household disposable income for electricity than residents of all but six other states. He also questioned whether Duke shareholders should be entitled to a 10.2 return on investment on the backs of consumers, many of whom are still struggling in an uneven economy.

A state Supreme Court ruling in April struck down a 7.2 percent increase the Utilities Commission awarded to Duke last year after Cooper objected to it. The court ordered the agency to evaluate the impact on consumers to determine an appropriate rate.

Cooper has also appealed a 7.5 percent rate increase awarded to Duke in May for former Progress Energy customers, arguing that the Utilities Commission ignored the Supreme Court's directive to weigh the consumer impact of any increase.

“The Supreme Court agreed that looking at profits without considering the impact on customers simply isn’t fair,” he said in the statement. “This ruling should lead to lower utility company profits and consumer rates.”

43 Comments

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  • Paul M Aug 22, 4:21 p.m.

    Fight them for the little guy

  • macy Aug 22, 3:59 p.m.

    Trut4 - are you a Duke executive? You remind me of the guys that tricked Johnson out of his job.

    Somehow I thought this forum was for people to come out and express their thoughts and concerns - not a place for pretentious people like yourself to come out and critize the posters.

  • macy Aug 22, 3:33 p.m.

    "Did you look at the dates of service that you are being charged for? Due date is not necessarily indicative of the period of electric use you are being charged for. It is as simple as looking at a few prior bills and this current bill and comparing them. It worries me that people come online to complain before they spend the time to look at their bill and see how it is broken down."Trut4

    No actually Trut4 I just got on here to complain about nothing - yes, I looked at prior bills for the last two years and the due date has always been 15th, 16th or 17th. They bumped it back a week - I paid my bill on the 15th like I always do but next month the due date is the 9th - I couldn't care less about the useage period. I am only concerned about the due date and it was changed without notification. I am on the equal payment plan - if I continue to pay my bill on the 15th, it will be considered late and I will not qualify for the equal payment plan, thus my concern.

  • 426X1E-6 Aug 22, 3:21 p.m.

    And these rate increases and requests for increases surprise who? Good luck Mr. Cooper. I am still curious about the monopoly law? Seems Duke Power is gradually headed into total power control for North Carolina.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 22, 1:27 p.m.

    "My bill is always due around the 16th - I got this coming months bill and they changed the due date to the 9th - but still charging me for 30 days service!!!! How can they do that?"

    The bills span some time in July and Some time in AUgust. This is true of every bill. My last bill covered usage from July 22 through August 17, a total of 26 days. Next months bill will cover from August 18th through probably September 18 or so. If YOU LOOK at the bill you will see an Entry called Usage Period with the Dates included. I keep hoping Cooper will call for a State wide property tax rollback and a reduction in Government employees, something that would actually be helpful. Then he needs to focus on doing the ACTUAL JOB he is being paid to do. I voted for him last time and I very much regret that vote. I almost NEVER vote for Democrat or a Republican. Oh well live and learn.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 22, 1:21 p.m.

    Hey Cooper if you want to help us please come out against the proposed 800+ million dollar wake county bond issue. How about this for impact to the CONSUMER Cooper. If I can not pay my electric, the most Duke can do is shut it off. If I can not pay my property taxes the county will send armed people to my home and seize it. the cost of that bond to me is going to be greater than even the original granted rate increase.

    "Now Duke power is charging people a month ahead on their electric bill for electric that one has not yet used !"

    You must be using a different Duke power company. I pay for what I used. Just got the bill yesterday. Here is the deal folks, if you do not like the cost, then stop using the electric. That you can do unlike the Wake County tax bill you will be forced to pay in spite of actually receiving NOTHING in return.

  • Trut4 Aug 22, 1:18 p.m.

    "My bill is always due around the 16th - I got this coming months bill and they changed the due date to the 9th - but still charging me for 30 days service!!!! How can they do that?"

    Did you look at the dates of service that you are being charged for? Due date is not necessarily indicative of the period of electric use you are being charged for. It is as simple as looking at a few prior bills and this current bill and comparing them.
    It worries me that people come online to complain before they spend the time to look at their bill and see how it is broken down.

  • macy Aug 22, 12:44 p.m.

    My bill is always due around the 16th - I got this coming months bill and they changed the due date to the 9th - but still charging me for 30 days service!!!! How can they do that?

  • goldenosprey Aug 22, 11:28 a.m.

    "Now Duke power is charging people a month ahead on their electric bill for electric that one has not yet used ! This is like time warner charging for services not yet rendered !"

    This is what happens when you have a for-profit corporate monopoly.

  • Trut4 Aug 22, 11:06 a.m.

    "sorry, can't give you exact dates but rates HAVE gone up since 1987 "11/15/2011 Progress Energy Carolinas rates rise 3.7% Dec. 1 in North Carolina"

    THAT'S just one instance I found in a 30 second search. Please do some research before you post :)
    "

    I did do my research, and 1987 was the last time Progress Energy had a rate case. Per Duke Progress webpage

    "The last time the company sought an increase to base rates in N.C. was 1987. Other variable components in retail rates have changed during that period (including the cost of fuel used in electricity generation, and the costs of complying with the state’s policies on renewable energy and energy efficiency), but the base rate has not been raised."

    As all of you complain, you need to take a look at how rates and power bills work. Just because your bill is higher, it doesnt mean that your base rates have increased.

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