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Duke Energy’s electricity rates are poised to continue skyrocketing over the next few years, but only some customers will feel the burn. While the utility lures the world’s elite technology giants to NC by offering cheap electricity, captive small business and residential customers are charged higher rates. The rate structure is patently unfair and is being challenged before the NC Utilities Commission by environmental watchdog NCWARN.

While this issue has been debated before Commission in the past, Duke Energy has successfully negotiated it away. The NC Attorney General also recognizes the unfairness but has yet to force a resolution to protect consumers. Read More

On tax day, here’s some news that will make your blood boil – Citizens for Tax Justice re-released its report about Fortune 500s federal tax payments from 2008 through 2010, adding new information for 2011. One of our NC based companies – Duke Energy – paid a net federal tax bill of negative 3.5% for those years.

Duke Energy just received a big fat rate increase, is looking for another one this year and would love for the legislature to give them the ability to get even more money out of ratepayers to pre-fund nuclear power plants – plants that even Wall Street won’t invest in.

The report also shows that if companies actually paid the 35% corporate tax rate, it could help reduce the nation’s deficit.  If the Fortune 500s had paid the full 35% corporate tax rate between 2008 and 2011, we’d have $78.3 billion more in federal tax income.

Thanks to NC WARN for bringing this report to my attention.

Sue Sturgis at the Institute for Southern Studies has still more news about the worrisome impacts of fracking:

“North Carolina regulators will hold the second of two planned public hearings in Chapel Hill today to gather comments on a recently released draft report that calls for lifting the state’s ban on the controversial gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

The first hearing, held last week in Sanford, N.C., brought out many opponents of fracking who focused on the documented threat such drilling presents to local water quality. Fracking opponents who attend tonight’s hearing plan to wear blue to show support for clean water.

But a growing body of science also raises concerns about fracking’s public-health impacts from air pollution.

A recent study by scientists with the Colorado School of Public Health found that air pollution from gas-drilling operations may cause acute and chronic health problems for nearby residents…”

Read the entire post by clicking here.