Citizens continue to fight hard against legislation which would make it easier for Duke Energy to get up to five years of rate hikes approved in a single case. Senate Bill 559 passed the state Senate last week, and the fight now moves to the House. “Senators have already fallen for Duke’s dirty tricks. Now it’s up to our representatives. We can’t let Duke inflate their profits by raising your rates five years at a time to cover up the real cost of coal ash pollution,” said NCLCV Director of Governmental Relations Dan Crawford.
SB559 would allow Duke to request approval for up to five years of annual rate hikes at one time. Duke wants this new process to reduce public and regulatory oversight of huge projects like its cleanup of coal ash pits. Let your representative know that this bill is unacceptable!
Under current law, Duke must justify its rate hike requests on an annual basis, as it expends the funds. That places the burden of producing proof where it belongs, on the company spending the money it wants ratepayers to cover. Multi-year rate requests allow the company to receive rate hikes approved in advance, on the basis of estimated future expenditures. This diminishes company incentive to control costs and to not pursue risky projects like overpriced, economically noncompetitive nuclear and coal plants.
Clean Air Carolina concludes that “this bill would hand Duke Energy a blank check to protect their revenue through rate hikes. The bill severely limits accountability and transparency for Duke Energy, and lacks any protection for consumers.”
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