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Progress Energy, consumer advocates reach rate deal

Posted March 1, 2013

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— Progress Energy Carolinas and the North Carolina Public Staff have reached an agreement on the utility's request to increase electric rates, officials said Friday.

Under the terms of the deal, customers would see a 5.7 percent increase in their rates spread over a two-year period. Progress had been seeking an 11 percent increase.

The Public Staff is the agency within the North Carolina Utilities Commission that represents consumers in rate cases. The commission still must approve any increases.

The deal still doesn't resolve how the overall rate increase will be divided among residential, commercial and industrial customers, officials said.

The Utilities Commission has scheduled a March 18 hearing to consider the settlement and all unresolved issues in the rate case. Progress wants its new rates to go into effect June 1.

About $151.4 million of the proposed increase would come in the first year, followed by $183 million the second year. The latter increase includes $31.4 million toward the construction of a natural gas-powered generation plant in Wilmington, officials said.

Progress Energy has agreed to contribute an additional $20 million to help low-income customers in North Carolina pay their energy bills and to lower its return-on-equity demands from 11.25 to 10.2 percent.

"This agreement with the Public Staff is an important and positive step in this proceeding," Paul Newton, the North Carolina president for Progress parent Duke Energy, said in a statement.

"The proposed settlement balances the needs of our customers and our investors," Newton said. "We understand there is never a good time to increase rates. However, we believe this settlement allows us to keep the rate increase to customers as low as we reasonably can and still recover the investments we've made to modernize our system and to ensure safe, reliable and increasingly clean electricity for the future."

Duke Energy Carolinas has a separate rate increase pending before the Utilities Commission. Public hearings on that case are set for May and June.

23 Comments

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  • computer trainer Mar 1, 2013

    westernwake1- u are so right and this is JUST the beginning! Duke is already asking our advocates, the Utilities commission and their grand pooba, GRUBER, ROBERT P EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, who makes $125,423, plus whatever the pwower companys can slide under the table, to give them a hefty incrisea.

    They've only just begun. When is the Secretary of Commerce, Ms Decker, going to rein this mess in? What is she going to do about it? The people of NC cannot afford this.

  • westernwake1 Mar 1, 2013

    Grab your ankles! Duke / Progress Energy and their friends at the North Carolina Utilities Commission are at it again.

  • wildpig777 Mar 1, 2013

    The rate deal is heads they win, tails we lose.

    tran
    ah dood heres the deal --wake up -- we already lost ,,,,,,,,,,, duh.

  • Readytomoveon2015 Mar 1, 2013

    If they were advocating for me there would be NO rate increase.

  • Rebelyell55 Mar 1, 2013

    Both progress and Duke record profits, but still want rate increase, Now that the Rep. control the board, they'll get it. Anything any Corp. wants right now in NC , they'll get it. Remember this is all driven by increase rate means increase sale tax. We the citizens of NC have been had. Sadly, it wouldn't of matter which party had control, this still would of happen. When are people going to wake up and realize these "parties" are not in office to do what best for NC or it's citizens.

  • SaveEnergyMan Mar 1, 2013

    Remember this is good for you. RTI and the NC Sustainable Energy Assoc has determined that green energy mandated by NC law will reduce your energy rates (see http://wraltechwire.com/report-clean-energy-efficiency-projects-saving-nc-money-creating-jobs/12121114/). It's the new math where an increase in your bill is really a decrease.

  • Karmageddon Mar 1, 2013

    @uGek010...Immediate costs might be heavy but the long term costs will be even larger" I couldn't agree more. I'll have pay more taxes to subsidize these boondoggles and then pay more for the energy.

  • Lamborghini Mercy Mar 1, 2013

    How exactly have they modernized the system and how exactly is the implementations efficient to customers if the cost continues to rise?

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 1, 2013

    They need rate increases to pay their executes tens of millions of dollars, especially if it's for retirement.

  • tran Mar 1, 2013

    The rate deal is heads they win, tails we lose.

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