North Carolina’s residential ratepayers are in for quite a shock if Duke Energy gets it way. Duke Energy, which includes Duke Energy Progress in Eastern North Carolina, and Duke Carolinas in the Western part of the state, has filed a request to the NC Utilities Commission (NCUC) to increase its overall rates by 14.9%.

Increased rates and service charges

For North Carolina residential customers, the rate increase would be even higher, about 16.7% or $17.80 more on the average customer’s monthly bills.

Making matters more difficult for fixed-income older adults and other limited-income customers, is that the company wants to double its monthly customer charge. That means North Carolina small businesses; working families and retirees will owe the company almost $20 before they even turn on the lights. Such a change would give us less control over our electric bill.

Pre-construction costs passed on to ratepayers

Duke’s rate request includes recovery for the $700 million it spent on the W.S. Lee Combined Cycle power plant in South Carolina — a project that the company recently announced it has cancelled.

Older adults and family caregivers stretched thin

As the State Director of AARP North Carolina, I am especially concerned about how proposed rate and fee increases will impact the budgets of retirees and near-retirees on fixed incomes as well as many family caregivers who are already stretched thin covering medical and other expenses for an elderly parent or relative.

Here’s the good news. You can help stop it.

Before the NCPUC rules on the rate hike request, it wants to hear what the people think. It is crucial the public speak out forcefully on this unfair proposal. If you want to see a more reasonable approach to how you get charged on your electric bill, you need to attend these public hearings in Rockingham, Raleigh, Asheville, Snow Hill and Wilmington. Otherwise, the Commission could assume there is no concern and approve this proposal. 

Can’t attend any of the hearings? Let the Commission know what you think.

Get important updates about the Duke rate hike request and other legislative and regulatory developments that impact our families and retirement security. Sign up for action alerts today at http://action.aarp.org

 

 

 

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