Business

Progress seeks first rate increase in 25 years

Posted October 12, 2012

— Progress Energy Carolinas asked state regulators Friday to raise its electricity rates in North Carolina for the first time since 1987.

In a filing with the N.C. Utilities Commission, the Duke Energy Corp. subsidiary seeks to increase annual base revenue by approximately $387 million, or 12 percent, but that would be slightly offset by a corresponding change in the portion of rates that pays for energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs.

"We know there's never a good time to seek a rate increase, and we have worked hard to maintain rate stability while providing excellent service to our customers," Brett Carter, Duke Energy's state president for North Carolina, said in a statement.

"The investments we have made and continue to make in the system will ensure electricity remains reliable and affordable, even as we continue to make it increasingly clean for the future," Carter said. "We are committed to minimizing the impact of increased costs through energy-efficiency programs tailored to our customers' needs and assistance for low-income consumers."

The company has spent nearly $11 billion on its power systems since its last general rate increase, which was tied to the opening of the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant in southwest Wake County, officials said.

Progress is in the midst of retiring 12 coal-fired units, representing more than 1,660 megawatts of generating capacity, and replacing them with low-emission, natural gas-fueled plants.

Officials said the proposed increases, which would take effect next summer if approved, would raise residential rates more than commercial and industrial rates to more accurately reflect the cost of serving residential customers.

The total net residential increase would average 14.2 percent, to $119.94 from $105.15 for a customer that uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month. The change includes raising the standard customer charge to $13.50 per month from $6.75.

The average net increase for commercial and industrial customers would be about 9 percent.

The proposal doesn't affect Duke Energy customers in North Carolina, although Duke has said it plans to seek its own rate increases in the coming months.

Officials said the recent merger of Duke and Progress didn't trigger the rate request, noting that it had been planned for a while.

92 Comments

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  • miseem Oct 15, 7:33 p.m.

    Gets down to the old chicken/egg argument. Which is more important to the overall health of the country (which comes first) - the manufacturing plant that employs people, or the citizens who buy the products the plant makes? Seems like you can't have one without the other. The question is - how much would a 9% increase in electric service cost in the price of a widget vs. how much would a 14% increase in electric service affect the family of four with a combined income of $50,000 a year?

  • larieke Oct 15, 2:24 p.m.

    Johnnyplusthree, so I guess you're saying, this is NOT Bush's fault. Are you trying to tell us that the Democrats in causing the price of electricity, gas and food (basic necessities)to skyrocket hurts the poor and middle class much more so than it does the wealthy upper class? Are you saying that Obama and his crowd are a bunch of hypocrites? Well, you convinced me; this socialism stuff is for the birds.

  • ladyblue Oct 15, 2:09 p.m.

    Could this be just the sneaky way of increases for those new regulations that were put into the new environmental laws through this past administration.?? you know the ones that they promised WOULD NOT RAISE MY RATES when so many opposing all those new regulatons were stating it would increase our bills.. guess we're finding out who was fibbing...

  • SARCASTICLES Oct 15, 1:53 p.m.

    Huh? Just a couple of months ago, when the hearings for the merger were happening, one of the "good reasons" to approve the merger were "added value" for the customers in the form of a "savings of over 600 million dollars".....RIGHT. Pull the other one.

  • Rebelyell55 Oct 15, 1:45 p.m.

    The state is broke, they need the increase in sale tax they'll get from the rate increase.

  • ladyblue Oct 15, 1:32 p.m.

    I find this amazing that they have not had an increase in 25 years. DUH i think that's an error since my light bill made 2 increases last year on price of kilowat usage. I still hve the bill stubs to prove it. we were told it woudl be 2 increases 6 months prt and it was...

  • ginaosbo Oct 15, 12:52 p.m.

    johnnyplusthree ++++1. Thanks for reminding them.....they do seem to forget what was "promised and delivered"!

  • pipcolt Oct 15, 12:26 p.m.

    So that slip of paper sent out with the elec. bill from the nc util. comm stating that they would not allow duke to raise the rates for three years was just a smoke screen to get people off there back. Sounds like the uc might be on duke powers payroll. As it is right now PE is duke. or is this just another big business trying to give themself a huge christmas bonus for Dec.

  • A Libertarian Oct 15, 12:24 p.m.

    My oh MY - DOn't we have short memories. Duke, PE and other utilities told you in big bold letters, THEIR WILL BE TWO RATE HIKES. Approx 20% each, one in 2013 and one in 2014. They have to pass along the new law mandating 20% energy from alternatives. Alternatives cost about 4 times more than natural gas, so you guys on the left voted for high utility bills, now PAY FOR THEM!!!

  • Mom120 Oct 15, 12:01 p.m.

    Awful.. i can barely afford it now

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