Up to 5 years of Duke rate increases? Solar a clear no-brainer

Up to 5 years of Duke rate increases? Solar a clear no-brainer

Read Time: 3 Minutes

There is an interesting bill that’s been introduced into the North Carolina legislature that would allow Duke Energy “to stack rate increases for up to five years with a single request as long as Duke’s profits and losses stay within a set range,” according to The News & Observer.

Currently, Duke Energy needs to seek a rate case every time it wants to increase customer bills, and the energy company says that is an antiquated way to conduct the business of maintaining the electricity grid. The introduction of Senate Bill 559 comes after the North Carolina Utilities Commission last year did not approve Duke’s $13 billion, 10-year proposal on electricity grid updates that came with profit margins added.

“The North Carolina Utilities Commission lacks the authority and flexibility to approve alternate ratemaking methods that enable utilities to enhance the customer experience, make the energy system smart and more secure, and keep energy prices competitive,” Duke Energy spokesperson Grace Rountree said in a statement to Utility Dive. “This legislation gives the Commission more tools and greater flexibility, flexibility that has already been adopted in over 35 states.”

On the other hand, per Emery Dalesio of The Associated Press, “[Senate Bill 559] has been blasted by lobbyists for large manufacturers and other industrial customers, Google, Walmart, the AARP and clean-energy groups who see it as increasing Duke Energy’s ability to raise power rates by reducing the ability of consumers to resist.”

“Being skeptical by nature, I smell this as a green light to raise rates,” Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman of Randolph County told the AP. “There’s something that don’t smell right when 100 or more of our big-business people who have weighed in on this and opposed this.”

Why pay Duke when you can pay yourself with solar?

No matter what ultimately happens with this legislation, the potential is always there for Duke Energy to impose rate increases on its customers, provided that the state’s utilities commission grants them that right. Costs are only rising for power companies to do business, especially as power companies such as Duke grapple with how to best retire coal ash ponds. Duke is currently fighting an order by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality to put all of its coal ash into lined ponds, something that the state of Virginia passed legislation to do earlier this year with Dominion Energy coal ash ponds. There are costs in any manner of retiring these ponds, and Dominion Energy ratepayers in Virginia will be paying for that as part of the legislation. The same likely would happen with Duke Energy ratepayers.

If you find any power rate increases to be unappealing, going solar at your home is a way to insulate yourself from paying those costs. Purchasing a solar system gives you a chance to own your power, instead of continuously renting it from the power company. There is an end date to your solar payment, and after your system has been paid off, that energy is completely free to you. The power company can’t raise rates on the solar power your home uses, because you own that power. And that’s what makes solar so intriguing. Not only does it save you money, but it allows customers the chance to do the right thing from an environmental perspective. Our American-made solar panels come with a 30-year warranty, which is five years longer than the industry standard.

How you can get started with POWERHOME Solar

POWERHOME Solar would love to help your home start generating clean, green energy, and we make that process as simple as possible by doing everything in preparation for your installation. From designing your array, to securing all the necessary permits and approvals to get your system up and running, you have a singular company that helps your home get energized. Our customers love the one-stop shopping we provide, because we know you have far better things to do with your time.

For more information about how your home can benefit from solar, call us at 800-765-2715 or visit https://www.powerhome.com for more details.