For Immediate Release, October 17, 2019

Contact:

Greer Ryan, Center for Biological Diversity, (812) 345-8571, gryan@biologicaldiversity.org
Rory McIlmoil, Appalachian Voices, (423) 433-9415, rory@appvoices.org

Legal Challenge Opposes Duke Energy’s North Carolina Rate Hike

Big Increase Would Hurt Residents, Hamper Clean Energy Transition

RALEIGH, N.C.— The Center for Biological Diversity and Appalachian Voices filed a petition today to intervene in Duke Energy Carolinas’ application to substantially increase electricity rates in North Carolina without also promoting renewable energy. The groups argued that simply raising rates, without concrete policies to advance the clean energy transition, is wrong for North Carolina, its people and the climate.

Today’s petition, filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, challenges the utility’s request to increase its residential rates by 10.3 percent. This rate hike, paired with North Carolina’s existing, weak clean energy policies, would leave state residents with fewer options to invest in solar energy and worsen the disproportionate energy burden that low-income communities bear.

“Duke’s outrageous rate hike will penalize people working hard to save energy and money while lining the pockets of the company’s investors,” said Greer Ryan, a renewable energy specialist at the Center. “This rate increase forces customers to prop up dirty power plants instead of transitioning to the renewable power that people want and the climate crisis urgently requires.”

As detailed in today’s filing, the Center is intervening to support rate structures that encourage widespread adoption of distributed renewable energy and efficiency and stop the lock-in of fossil fuel power generation. The Center is also challenging Duke’s attempt to force ratepayers to foot the bill for the company’s political lobbying in favor of fossil fuel interests.

“Duke’s filing clearly shows it’s stuck in a 20th-century model of doing business, asking ratepayers to pay for investments that do nothing to transition us to the clean energy economy we need and deserve,” said Rory McIlmoil, senior energy analyst at Appalachian Voices. “It's a last ditch effort by the monopoly to lock in exorbitant profits even as North Carolinians increasingly want clean, affordable energy.”

Duke’s request comes as a vote is expected soon in the North Carolina House of Representatives on S.B. 559, which would further lock in power and profits for the monopoly utility and open the door for back-to-back annual rate increases in the future.

Duke Energy Carolinas is part of the Duke Energy Corporation, one of the largest utility companies in the world and the number one carbon polluter among all U.S. utilities.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in Appalachia, bringing people together to help shift the region to renewable energy and a prosperous future. AppalachianVoices.org