This week the NC Justice Center, NC WARN and the NC Housing Coalition challenged the proposed Duke Energy rate hike settlement that the NC Utilities Commission Public Staff is supporting. The organizations are highlighting how unfair the proposal for a 7.21% rate increase is to residential and most business customers, because the rate allocation method is biased to accommodate energy hogging industries.
These energy hogs – such as Facebook and Google data centers – are already being subsidized by various tax breaks and incentives offered by the state, creating few jobs and benefiting from Duke’s biased rate allocation method.
The organizations also raised concerns about discriminatory practices regarding residential late payment charges and shut off notices, noting how these practices disproportionately impact low-income customers.
The NC Utilities Commission needs to require Duke Energy to develop a rate allocation method that reflects the new demand brought on by the energy hogs, reflecting the need for peak, intermediate and base load capacity through the year. This issue will also become important to Progress Energy customers if the Duke-Progress merger is approved because Progress uses a different, more fair rate allocation, and how the two will be resolved remains to be seen.