Duke Energy customers in North Carolina should prepare for 2019 rate increase
Duke Energy customers in North Carolina may be looking at an additional electricity rate increase in 2019 as the utility company seeks to recoup much of the hundreds of millions in costs it incurred while restoring power and repairing damage from Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael and Winter Storm Diego.
In filings sent to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Duke says its costs for those storms totaled more than $760 million between North and South Carolina, with Duke Energy Progress incurring $557 million of those costs — $501 million from Hurricane Florence alone. Duke Energy Carolinas incurred the other $204 million.
Generally speaking, Duke Energy Carolinas serves the western part of North Carolina (except for the Asheville area), while Duke Energy Progress is in the eastern part of the state (and includes the Asheville area). The utility calls costs for these storms “unprecedented” and “will have a corresponding rate impact on customers, if found to be reasonable and prudent by the Commission in the company’s next general rate case.”
The $761 million sum includes repairs done in Duke’s service territories in both North and South Carolina, though Duke calculates that $611 of those costs came from North Carolina, indicating that the higher rate increases figure to be sought in North Carolina. Duke wants to recoup $541 million of its costs by passing along a rate increase to its customers over an eight-year period, a deferral that would allow for a less burdensome annual increase.
Given the costs involved with Florence cleanup, the latest rate increase would be especially noticeable for those in Duke Energy Progress territory, considering that the bill for the average Duke Energy Progress customer in North Carolina went up approximately $12 in 2018.
Duke Energy Carolinas customers in North Carolina had their own increase in 2018, though one that amounts to 1.2 percent over four years.
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