Stop the Rate Hikes Bill

Last week, the state Senate coughed up a hairball of a bill which only an excess profiteer could love. Conservation and ratepayer advocates are outraged by the latest version of Duke Energy’s bill raising your power rates.

Senate Bill 559 combines consensus storm response measures with highly controversial proposals to allow Duke to obtain guaranteed multi-year rate hikes from the state Utilities Commission (NCUC) and to profit beyond what the NCUC decides is necessary. In a nutshell, Duke is trying to get more money from customers in order to pay for its coal ash mess, instead of making shareholders pay.

The bill passed the Senate and House earlier this summer in radically different forms. The House version replaced the multi-year rate hikes section with a study of the issue. As is standard legislative practice, the conflicting versions were sent to a conference committee made up of House and Senate members, charged with proposing a reconciled version.

Unfortunately, the conference report represented a Senate override of the House’s more measured approach. Unsurprisingly, the Senate immediately approved the conference version. The obligation to act responsibly for the citizens of our state now rests squarely in the hands of the House.

Not only does the bill reinstate the multi-year rate hike authority, but it now directs NCUC to accelerate making rules to comply with the law by January 1, 2021.

Conservation and consumer advocates like NCLCV believe this bill will allow Duke to protect its shareholders from bad environmental management decisions and inflate its profits at our expense. Tell your representative to oppose this bill!

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