Issues

Cost Pressure Intensifies for Southern Co. Nuclear Plant — The State

{January 30, 2015}

The delays and cost overruns are piling up for a new plant in Georgia that was supposed to prove nuclear energy can be built affordably. Instead, the companies building first-of-their-kind reactors at Plant Vogtle expect they will need an extra three years to finish construction. The plant’s owners and builders are fighting over who should pay for more than $1 billion in unexpected construction expenses — a figure that could easily grow.

How Duke fleeced Florida customers for $1.5 billion, WTSP News 10 (Tampa)

{August 2, 2013}

On Thursday, Duke Energy Florida (formerly Progress Energy) announced that the company would pull the plug on its future Levy Co. nuclear plant. And the money the company has been collecting from customers for years — and will continue to collect until 2018 — will go toward Duke Energy’s expenses and profits. (Article and video)

Thank you, Tallahassee, for making us pay so much for nothing, Tampa Bay Times

{August 1, 2013}

Hey, elected clowns! Thanks for passing a law forcing Duke Energy customers to pay up to $1.5 billion in higher rates for a long proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County that will not be built… This borders on fraud. If our elected officials had not rubber-stamped it into law seven years ago, it probably would be.

Groups to ramp up fight against Duke Energy rate hikes, WSOC-TV

{May 30, 2013}

Some consumer advocacy groups are ramping up their fight against Duke Energy’s proposed rate hike. On Thursday night, groups including AARP, Consumers Against Rate Hikes and Greenpeace gathered in the North Davidson area to talk about strategy and planning. The groups want to prepare people to speak at a public hearing on June 26 held by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which will decide the rate request. Their goal is to get 500 people at the meeting, which is at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse at 6 p.m.

North Carolina Utilities Commission approves rate increase for Duke Energy Progress’ North Carolina customers, PR Newswire

{May 30, 2013}

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) today approved Duke Energy Progress’ proposed settlement in the company’s request to increase electric rates for its North Carolina customers. “We are pleased the N.C. Utilities Commission has approved our settlement in this case. We believe that the settlement reflects a balance between the needs of our company and those of our customers,” said Paul Newton , Duke Energy state president – North Carolina.

Public speaks out against Duke rate increase at hearing, The Macon County News

{May 23, 2013}

On Tuesday, the public had its chance to voice any opposition they had towards Duke Energy and their proposed rate hikes. Duke Energy has proposed a 9.7 percent increase in its electric rates. The North Carolina Utilities Commission is holding hearings across the state to allow the public to have their say. Franklin was the site of one of these hearings — the only one west of Asheville — and people filled the courtroom designated for the hearing at the Macon County Court House Tuesday night.

Public, officials debate Duke Energy rate hike, McDowell News

{May 23, 2013}

Marion Mayor Steve Little said he wanted to voice his “strongest possible objection” to the rate hike. “A request for an increase of the size that we see is unconscionable,” said Little. “It is simply not reasonable. It is not fair. We are not one of the big guys. We are not rich but we get hammered.”

Advocates to Duke Energy: No Rate Hikes for Dirty Fuels

{May 2, 2013}

Ratepayers and concerned North and South Carolinians gathered outside Duke Energy’s annual shareholder meeting for a teach-in to highlight community concerns. Duke Energy seeks to raise electricity prices to pay for extending the use of obsolete and dirty power plants that threaten the health of people, the environment, and the economy.

The shocking burden of $800 light bills, News & Observer

{March 30, 2013}

Op-Ed by Gene Nichol, director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the UNC School of Law
The poorest citizens in the poorest communities in North Carolina often pay the highest rates for electricity. They are required, in the process, to subsidize the services of others much wealthier than themselves. They also, in some instances, are taxed by municipalities in which they can neither vote nor run for office. The burden of crushing electricity prices thwarts economic development in much of Eastern North Carolina, the state’s poorest region…

Rep. Leo Daughtry, a veteran Republican legislator from Smithfield, has tried repeatedly to curb the wounds the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency inflicts on Eastern North Carolina. “I could tell you story after story of businesses closing down and people having to leave Smithfield because of it,” he says. “Towns can’t prosper because no one wants to pay those bills.”

New Statewide Poll Shows Strong Support for Cleaner, Cheaper Energy

{February 28, 2013}

In a new statewide poll of over 600 North Carolina consumers, respondents expressed both a strong desire for the North Carolina Utilities Commission to help low-income residents as well as their support for cleaner and cheaper energy alternatives to those being proposed by Duke Energy and Progress Energy.

Groups Urge NC Utility Commission to Protect Public Interest when Weighing Duke Energy’s Long-term Operating Plans

{February 8, 2013}

A broad range of consumer, energy, environmental and religious advocates gathered at the entrance to the Public Utilities Commission today to urge members to act in the best interests of residential, municipal and small business ratepayers when they review the Integrated Resource Plan of Duke Energy, North Carolina’s largest electric utility provider.

Risks to Ratepayers – Synapse Energy Economics study on impacts of Annual Rate Hike Bill in NC

{December 19, 2012}

Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., in a study commissioned by CARH, rejected Duke’s key talking point that an Annual Rate Hike Bill would somehow save customers money by charging them as the plant is being built.

Consumer Alliance Warns of a Doubling of Electricity Rates under Duke Energy’s Business Plan

{December 18, 2012}

A new study by energy economists warns that North Carolina customers will see power bills skyrocket if legislators allow Duke Energy Progress to begin raising rates to pay for new nuclear reactors that would open in 2024 at best. The consumer alliance that fought off such legislation over the past two years said today that Duke’s business plan to build unneeded power plants could almost double rates by 2019 with another 50% increase over the following decade, severely impacting the state’s economy.

Progress Energy Rate Hikes: Impact on Customers and Local Government Budgets

{November 29, 2012}

Progress Energy’s plan for serial rate hikes will further burden residential customers, small businesses and local governments.

A Guarantee for More Dirty Energy: “Construction Work in Progress” Laws

{November 8, 2012}

An overview presentation on CWIP laws by NC WARN attorney, John Runkle.

Funding new power plants: Should consumers or investors pay, AARP Nov. 2012 Bulletin

{November 2, 2012}

AARP North Carolina is concerned that the General Assembly will follow the lead of states that allow utilities to more easily pass on power plant construction costs to customers.

Progress Rate Hike to Further Burden Residential, Small Business and Municipalities

{October 12, 2012}

Raleigh, NC. Progress Energy Carolinas customers have seen their monthly electricity bills steadily increase over time as the utility increased rates by 25% due to fuel adjustment charges. Now residential customers are being asked to shoulder an additional 14.2% for a base rate increase (with a smaller increase for commercial and industrial customers). This is …read more

Good News: No Annual Rate Hike Bill in the 2012 Legislative Session

{July 9, 2012}

Consumers Against Rate Hikes claims victory and thanks legislators as the 2012 legislative session closes without an Annual Rate Hikes Bill that would raise rates for electricity customers every year to build expensive, unnecessary power plants.

Costly Incompetence: The top four U.S. nuclear construction projects are already mired in costly problems

{June 1, 2012}

An issue brief by NC WARN shows that the three nuclear construction projects underway in the U.S. are already suffering huge cost overruns, delays, and uncertainty about completion. A fourth project – though not yet licensed – has seen its price estimate quadruple. No wonder Duke Energy insists that the NC public bear the financial risks of new nuclear plants in the Carolinas.

Florida Republican Senator Fasano Urges FL Public Service Commission to Deny Rate Hikes for New Nuclear Plants

{May 30, 2012}

Fasano: “When I originally supported the advanced cost recovery, I never thought the Commission would turn a blind eye to the high risks associated with such capital-intensive and complicated projects. I know that my fellow lawmakers did not intend to give investor owned utilities a blank check, but that is in essence what has happened.”

Press Conference Audio

{May 14, 2012}

Listen to the press conference launching the CARH campaign with Chris Estes, Director of the NC Housing Coalition; Mark Cooper, Senior Fellow for Economic Analysis at Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment; and John Runkle, attorney for Consumers Against Rate Hikes.

News Release: Coalition Warns NC not to Repeat Southeast’s Mistakes

{May 14, 2012}

Amid ongoing headlines about soaring costs at nuclear construction projects across the Southeast, a broad coalition of North Carolina public interest groups today announced a statewide campaign to prevent so-called “Annual Rate Hikes” legislation that has led to soaring electric rates in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

The Consumers Against Rate Hikes coalition released a new statewide poll showing strong bipartisan opposition to legislation that would shift financial risks for new power plants by Duke Energy and Progress Energy onto the backs of small businesses, seniors, and families.

New Poll: 86% Oppose Annual Rate Hikes Bill

{May 14, 2012}

86% of NC voters would oppose a law that would allow Duke and Progress Energy Corporations to increase rates annually to pay for building nuclear power plants rather than have these corporations take the financial risk.

Print Ad: Don’t give Duke and Progress a blank check

{May 14, 2012}

Dear NC Legislators, stand up for consumers by opposing any Annual Rate Hikes legislation.

Radio Ad: Call your legislator to protect consumers

{May 14, 2012}

Duke and Progress Energy Corporations are trying to get legislators to pass an annual rate hike bill that will allow them to raise our electricity rates every year to pay for risky nuclear power plants in advance. Even Wall Street won’t gamble its money on these projects.