Gov. Cooper’s three appointments to the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) all easily earned final legislative confirmation last week, after being held for months without legislative action. All three will soon take their seats and get to work.
NCUC handles electric utility rate increase requests, and sets the rules and plans under which the state’s public utilities operate. Its decisions are critical to issues such as new power plant construction, who pays for environmental cleanups such as coal ash pit excavations, and the rates utilities must pay for solar and wind power generation.
Cooper, a strong advocate for expanding clean energy, sent three NCUC nominees to the General Assembly earlier this year: Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham); Kimberly Duffley, a senior staff attorney for the commission; and UNC School of Government professor Jeff Hughes.
All three are expected to be strong ratepayer advocates and clean energy champions. Hughes, in particular, will bring decades of international experience in environmental and utilities finance issues.