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AG appeals Duke rate hike – says profit gain unjust

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper appealed the Duke Energy electric rate hike Wednesday, arguing the company should not raise customer rates to gain a 10.5% profit for its shareholders. This is Duke’s second increase since 2009 and another is anticipated this year.

Duke had originally asked for a 17% increase on rates that would yield an 11.5% return for shareholders. A compromise reached with the Public Staff of the NC Utilities Commission gained Duke a 7% rate hike and the 10.5% shareholder profit. The AG is arguing that the rate of return is not supported by the evidence in the case, especially since the majority of the public testimony opposed the increase as a burden in the current economy.

By the way, did you get a 7% raise last year to offset the hike in your utility bill? According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most workers saw only a 2.1% increase in compensation. Did you have investments that yielded a 10.5 % return in the past few years? Over the past five years, the average return on the stock market per year was less than 3%.

The NC Court of Appeals will hear the case. This appeal should dampen Duke’s expectations for the next increase request. Meanwhile the Duke-Progress merger limps along as the companies attempt to address the concerns of federal and state regulators, shareholders and last but not least – their customers – and never mind to the climate, our air or our water.

 

3 Comments

  1. HunterC

    March 29, 2012 at 9:49 am

    At a more basic level, why do we allow government granted monopolies to pay shareholders at all?

    Do we do this with water in certain parts of the state? Is it just electricity?

  2. Alex

    March 29, 2012 at 10:31 am

    As we get ready to shut down our coal plants, everyone needs to get ready for soaring utility rates. Funny that for every one we close down, China and India open up two more putting out twice the emissions that we were into the atmosphere. Go figure this one out.

  3. Frank Burns

    March 29, 2012 at 10:59 am

    This rate hike is crazy, we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot. Duke is raising the rates to pay for early retirement of coal power plants for the mythical reason that CO2 is a problem. Didn’t we have a rate hike several years ago to fix the aging coal plants? We can thank the environmental groups for this rate hike.