Duke Requests 16% Rate Hike for Fuel Costs
Duke Energy’s increasing reliance on methane gas is about to bite ratepayers in their pocketbooks.
Duke Energy Carolinas (the larger of Duke’s two North Carolina subsidiaries) announced last week a request to increase rates for its residential customers by more than 16% due to increases in the cost for fuel used to produce electricity. That’s on top of a pending separate request to raise rates by another 16%, as well as the 9.6% increase in fuel cost charges it got last year.
Duke says it paid about $1 billion more in fuel costs last year than it was able to recover from its customers. The utility acknowledges that most of the rise in its fuel costs came in methane (“natural gas”).
Methane gas now accounts for more than half of Duke’s costs for fuel, and its prices have become increasingly volatile. All of this shines a bright spotlight on the challenge persistently posed by advocates of clean, renewable energy: WHY are North Carolina regulators allowing Duke to continue expanding its reliance on burning methane gas, instead of committing to an aggressive buildout of solar, wind, and battery storage?
We encourage all North Carolina residents to remember this hanging question every time your rising electric bill arrives. In fact, why not use that as a monthly reminder to call or email your elected representatives in Raleigh with that very question?