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Conover opposes energy rate request

August 2, 2011

Area municipal governments are saying a proposed rate increase by Duke Energy would be “unpalatable” during tough economic times.

Duke Energy Carolinas provides power to many residents in Catawba County, and the company is asking the N.C. Utilities Commission for about a 15 percent average increase in electricity rates.

The city of Conover passed a resolution Monday that voices opposition to a proposed electricity rate increase by Duke Energy, which provides to city residents, as well as the city itself.

The rate increase would cost the city alone about $50,000, said Donald Duncan, Conover City Manager.

“It will have an impact on services and operations,” Duncan said, adding that now is the time for citizens to voice opinions about the proposed increase.

The average rate increase will be 17 percent for residential, 14 percent for commercial and industrial and eight percent for lighting energy users. The proposed rate increase would affect most residential and commercial energy users in Catawba County, except the cities of Newton and Maiden. Newton and Maiden are part of the energy cooperative Electricities.

If approved, new rates would likely go into effect February 2012.
About 75 percent of the rate increase will allow Duke Energy to start recovering $4.8 billion in capital investments and costs related to system modernization. About 15 percent of the increase is for “additional financing and other costs” while 11 percent will balance out the recession’s impact on Duke Energy’s sales, according to Duke Energy’s website.

“Seeking this increase in electric rates better aligns the rates our customers pay with the cost to provide affordable, reliable and clean electricity today, and for decades to come,” according to a statement on duke-energy.com.

Despite dedicating 11 percent of the increase to the recession’s impact, Duke Energy is still making money. The utility posted a second-quarter net income of $441 million on Tuesday, reversing a year-earlier loss.

Duke Energy Carolinas’ average electricity rate of 8.98 cents per kilowatt hour is lower than the national average of about 12.01 cents per kilowatt hour. If the rate increase was passed, however, Duke Energy Carolinas’ rate would be competitive with the South Atlantic Region’s rate, which is about 10.90 cents per kilowatt hour.
Municipalities around the state, like Conover, feel the increase comes at a challenging time for customers.

“In these economic times, that’s going to be a huge hit on their disposable income,” Duncan said. “I think it will slow our economic recovery. It would be like the city of Conover raising water rates during a drought.”

Duncan said he thinks other governments will join the effort in opposing the increase, and said other cities and towns have already approved similar resolutions.

Public hearings

The N.C. Utilities Commission, which approves or denies electric rate increases, will hold several public hearings before making a decision about the hike. Any customer of Duke Energy can plead their case at the hearings.

“It will important for the citizens to voice their opinions,” Duncan said, adding one of the closest public hearings to this area will be held in Marion during the fall.

After the public hearings in October and November, the N.C. Utilities Commission will hold evidentiary hearings about the proposed increase.

The NCUC is scheduled to make their decision about the increase in January, with new rates going into effect in February.

Comments

I agree with Mr. (or Mrs Mosse)..

August 3, 2011 by Backbone (not verified), 3 years 3 weeks ago
Comment: 597

..Duke Energy has existed with the support and efforts of the people of North Carolina, yet it has forgotten its N.C. roots and wants to assume the mantel of a economic power house with all sorts of concerns all over the world.

I say the municipalities should raise all kinds of Heck with the ste public utilities commission and fight the intended increase for Duke to secure funds to expand in the much vaunted "Global Market Place".

Our salaries and income have not increased ov erht past 10 years, why should Duke be given a increase to increase their own Corporate wealth!

Remeber "Ready Kilowatt?" Well he has been replaced with "Corporate MogulMike!"

Buncha blood suckers in Charlotte!

BE GLAD YOU DONT LIVE IN ONE OF THE ELECTRICITIES.

August 3, 2011 by PANZER7 (not verified), 3 years 3 weeks ago
Comment: 595

If you move to Newton, or one of the other electricities as the call it. They buy power from Duke and resale it to consumers. You pay Dukes rate plus a markup. So be happy you live in Conover or any city that is not part of the electricites scheme...Oh, and be happy, if Obama gets reelected your rates will go even higher because duke and other power companies(much hated by the present white house administration) come under a host of new regulations (obama doesnt believe in anything thats not "green" so he taxes and regulates power companies like theres no tommorrow) which duke and other power companies will pass on to consumers. Face it everythings going up, job or no job, but you can pick politicians who will help the situation, not make it worse!

Interesting Kneejerk Reaction

August 4, 2011 by Seymore Beaver (not verified), 3 years 3 weeks ago
Comment: 600

Thanks for the insight; it is always refreshing to hear from someone who has a Nazi tank for a screen name. How's that Hitler thing going these days?

I think we need a little research here.....Electracities does buy power from Duke energy at a reduced rate (due to large sums of energy purchased by the collective cities) and passes the bargin to the consumer. Think Walmart here. There are added benefits....we have our own power crews who come quickly and get the lights back on so you can sit in the A/C and eat your struddle and sourkraut.

As for President Obama and his relationship with Duke Energy. If D.E. disliked him so much then why did they pony up so much cash to have the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte? They love him and all the good that he represents.

Open a book once it awhile; they are good for more things than burning.

Duke Energy

August 3, 2011 by RH Moose, 3 years 3 weeks ago
Comment: 594

Here we are in the midst of the deepest recession many of us can remember. Jobs lost, benefits running out, state,county and cities losing taxes because of the loss of jobs but it makes my heart swell to see Duke Energy has our best interest at heart. Now we can really add Duke Energy to a long list of of parasites sucking the people dry.

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