Business

Duke Energy rate increase approved; Cooper appeals

Posted September 24, 2013
Updated September 26, 2013

New Duke Energy logo

— The North Carolina Utilities Commission on Tuesday approved a rate increase for Duke Energy that stemmed from negotiations between the company and the North Carolina Public Staff, which represents consumers in utility cases. 

The settlement calls for rates to go up by 4.5 percent for two years, rising to 5.1 percent after that for Duke's customers in western North Carolina and western portions of the Triangle. The increase gives Duke a 10.2 percent return on equity and an extra $235 million in annual revenue.

The Charlotte-based utility also agreed to pay a total of $10 million to agencies that help low-income residents with their electric bills.

Paul Newton, president for Duke's operations in North Carolina, said he was pleased with the utilities commission's approval.

"This decision reflects a balance between the needs of our company and those of our customers," Newton said in a news release. "This increase is critical to the company's modernization plan to address increasingly stringent environmental regulations, and also to retire and replace aging power plants."

After September 2015, the bill for an average residential customer will increase about $8 monthly. 

In February, before negotiating with the Public Staff, Duke had asked state regulators to raise electric rates by an average of 9.7 percent, which would have brought in an extra $446 million in revenue. 

Attorney General Roy Cooper said Wednesday that he would appeal the increase to the North Carolina Supreme Court, saying that the Utilities Commission continues to ignore consumers when setting electric rates.

“The order approving this rate hike talks a lot about consumers but doesn’t really consider their interests,” Cooper said in a statement. “Just paying lip service to the challenges North Carolinians face in tough economic times is not enough.”

The Supreme Court in April struck down another Duke rate increase, saying the commission needed to take the effect of the higher rate on consumers into account before raising it.

69 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • Mon Account Sep 26, 9:56 a.m.

    Let me get this right. Unemployment benefit cuts, no budging on minimum wage... yet Duke gets a pay increase approved by... the government.

    Get 'em Roy!

  • goldenosprey Sep 26, 9:19 a.m.

    "scuba if you are a shareholder why would you disagree with making more money? Yes it will be on the backs of all customers, but that is what investing is all about." nachochezz

    This is why conservatives have a fundamental misunderstanding of math. IF, and that's a big if, one has a mutual fund or with Duke in it or regular stock, unless you are a Huge shareholder, if you own or rent a building in NC most likely you will LOSE $ on the deal. Out of state investors are smiling, their portfolio improves on our loss.

    "More Democrat fat cats getting rich off the hard working, tax paying Republican man." cbuckyoung

    LOL!!!! You have your parties backwards for one thing, but if you put your partisanship aside for a moment- this is about corporate greed of the powerful, which is transforming us into a third world country, not about Rs & Ds.

  • junkmail5 Sep 25, 4:04 p.m.

    Yes it was approved in 2012, but it was in the works long before that. And why would anyone want to block it? These are two corps. deciding to merge. Don't really see your point- nachochezz

    Let me help you then:

    Original post:

    you and scuba must go to the anti gop meetings together. You guys are blaming the gop for something that was in play long before the gop got control. They had nothing and could do nothing about this merger. nachochezz

    Your post NOW:

    So what if they didn't block it.- Nachochezz

    Do you see the point yet?

    You claimed they had nothing to do with the deal, and "could do nothing" about the merger.

    Now you admit they sure COULD have, but simply didn't do so.

    Hopefully the point has been clarified.

  • jonstewartrules Sep 25, 3:37 p.m.

    You mean there still IS a utilities commission? Figured that was just more gubmint regumalations interferin' with all them jobz kreeaytors. Git rid of em! Bizznesses know whats good fur us, our right wing folks sayz so.

  • notexactly Sep 25, 3:25 p.m.

    Yes it was approved in 2012, but it was in the works long before that. And why would anyone want to block it? These are two corps. deciding to merge. Don't really see your point. So what if they didn't block it. Do you think the previous admin. would have?

  • corey3rd2 Sep 25, 3:21 p.m.

    We GRANNIES don't want handouts, we want someone to stop the big utility companies from GOUGING us, making them charge REASONABLE rates so we can continue to take care of ourselves by ourselves.

    And when a company raises rates just to keep MILLIONS going into the pockets of their top executives and shareholders - THAT'S GOUGING!!!"

    So you hate the free market? Are you a Soviet style Granny? You're living in the future you created. Thanks for nothing.

  • corey3rd2 Sep 25, 3:19 p.m.

    McCrory paying back his old employer.

  • eyepeefreelee Sep 25, 3:10 p.m.

    Get 'em, Coop!

  • gvmntcheese Sep 25, 3:09 p.m.

    You will pay it or you will be without power... Mr. Cooper is the only 1 left who didn't get a check.. This will go away like everything else...

  • Vote for Pedro Sep 25, 3:05 p.m.

    Duke is run by Democrats interested only in the next "green" technology. That was the whole purpose of firing the CEO of Progress.
    veyor

    That is truly ludicrous, Duke run by Democrats......"green" technologies, hilarious.

More...