Opinion

Opinion

MIKE HUGHES: Duke coal ash storage in accord with federal and state regulations

Posted April 28, 2018 5:00 a.m. EDT

Duke Energy

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mike Hughes is Duke Energy's North Carolina Vice President of Community Relations


In its April 27 editorial, Capitol Broadcasting grossly mischaracterizes Duke Energy’s coal ash management practices and associated costs. Confusing the Dan River incident, which customers will never pay for, with closing ash basins as required by new laws is a disservice to readers.

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Customers have never and will never be asked to pay for costs associated with the 2014 Dan River spill.

For decades, reliable and affordable electricity was made possible by coal. And for decades, we have stored coal ash in accordance with federal and state regulations. However, recent policy changes are driving energy companies, including us, around the country to permanently close ash basins.

The cost of coal ash management, including compliance with the laws that govern our work, is a responsibility we all share as consumers of energy, and that cost is what is reflected in our recent request to adjust rates.

The editorial also comments on the attorney general’s recent appeal of the North Carolina Utilities Commission decision to adjust rates, citing the company failed to flag documents that included evidence of our coal ash management practices. The attorney general’s office, as well as all involved parties, was provided with Duke Energy’s evidentiary documents in July 2017 – four months prior to the start of the hearing. The idea behind new evidence is simply misguided.

Our goal is to ensure customers are equipped with the facts. Above all else, we will remain focused on our job – powering North Carolina communities with reliable, increasingly clean electricity at reasonable costs.

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