North Carolina Attorney General Opposes Duke Energy Progress Rate Increase

North Carolina Attorney General Opposes Duke Energy Progress Rate Increase
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May 31, 2013

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says that he plans an appeal to block a 7.5 percent rate increase that the North Carolina Utilities Commission has awarded Duke Energy. The rate increase would affect customers of Duke Energy Progress, formerly Progress Energy.

Cooper had opposed the rate increase before the Commission and now plans to appeal it to the NC Supreme Court.

"This order puts utility profits ahead of people,' said Cooper. "It talks about how much consumers are hurting but sticks them with higher rates anyway. A true analysis of the effect on struggling consumers as required by the North Carolina Supreme Court should result in lower rates so we plan to appeal this ruling."

The increase would be phased in over two years. According to Duke Energy, the monthly bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would rise from $104 to more than $111.

Cooper recently appealed a 7.2 percent rate increase by Duke Energy all the way to the NC Supreme Court, saying that consumers must be taken into account when setting utility profit margins and evaluating requests for rate increases. In a ruling issued April 12, the Supreme Court ordered the Utilities Commission to determine the impact on consumers before setting an allowable profit margin and agreeing to raise rates.

Cooper believes that Supreme Court ruling should serve as a guide for the Utilities Commission in considering all rate hike requests, and that the Commission's decision to approve the Progress rate increase doesn't adequately consider the impact on consumers.