State utility regulators on Wednesday reduced a proposed rate increase that would have affected 591,000 Duke Energy customers in the Upstate, and called executives of the energy company "tone deaf" for the proposal. Duke Energy requested last year to increase its Residential Basic Facilities Rate charge from $8.29 to $28, a spike that annually would've resulted in $236.52 more per customer in energy costs.The company later agreed to lower the charge to either $11.70 or $13.09. The Public Service Commission is expected to announce a final decision on the rate increase in coming weeks.
A newly-formed coalition of advocacy groups has launched a campaign to end Duke Energy's longstanding monopoly control over most of North Carolina's electric system in hopes that permitting competition among power generators would hasten the shift to clean energy and bring pollution relief to vulnerable communities. The members of the Energy Justice NC coalition include local, regional, and national environmental and social justice organizations. Among them are 350.org, Appalachian Voices, Center for Biological Diversity, Down East Coal Ash Coalition, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, and the NC Environmental Justice Network.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - One person was arrested after a handful of protesters set up a makeshift fracking tower outside the south Charlotte home of Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good Wednesday morning. About eight protesters with the group Beyond Extreme Energy set up in front of Good’s house around 7 a.m., claiming Duke Energy is putting profits before the safety and well-being of its customers. They are trying to stop the Atlantic Coast pipeline that will go through counties in eastern North Carolina, arguing that the project will wreck the environment. Police were called to the home and spoke with the protesters for a while before issuing an ultimatum to leave or be arrested.
By Popular Resistance. Asheville, NC - Duke Energy is the largest utility in the US, and one of largest in the world. It emits more greenhouse gases than any other corporation (almost 2% of total GHG's), and is fighting a losing battle to protect its right to create dirty energy for the foreseeable future. Many people were locked out of the hearing the public hearing last night. The doors were locked at 7 pm and no one could get in after that. Speakers at the hearing, even a local mayor as well as a range of environmental and justice organizations, were UNANIMOUSLY opposed to Duke's Rate Hike proposal.
By Jeff St. John for GTM - Florida is set to get a lot more solar power and grid batteries -- in exchange for losing a future nuclear power plant. On Tuesday, Duke Energy Florida filed a revised settlement that lays out a four-year, nearly $6 billion investment into 700 megawatts of solar PV, 50 megawatts of energy storage, 500 electric-vehicle chargers, and smart meters and grid modernization across the state. In exchange, Duke will be allowed to shut down its Levy Nuclear Project -- one of many planned nuclear power plant projects being canceled in the wake of the Westinghouse bankruptcy and broader industry disruption. And, in a turnaround from last week’s request for an 8.3 percent rate hike, the new plan would keep rates in line with inflation over the next four years. Duke Energy Florida, which owns about 8,800 megawatts of generation capacity and serves approximately 1.8 million customers, will instead absorb more than $150 million in closing costs, and pass the rest on to customers to the tune of $2.50 per megawatt-hour. It will also reduce customer costs by $2.53 per megawatt-hour by spreading the costs for under-recovered fuel over two years rather than one.
By Emery P. Dalesio for Associated Press - RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — One of the world’s largest investment funds is dumping its shares in Duke Energy Corp. because it sees too much risk in what it called the largest U.S. electric company’s history of environmental damage. The decision to bar investments in Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy was announced Wednesday by the arm of Norway’s central bank that manages the pension fund created by the Scandinavian country’s oil wealth.
By Sue Sturgis for Facing South. Duke Energy is facing serious regulatory battles in its home state of North Carolina, with climate-action groups doggedly trying to block the company's planned fracked gas plant in Asheville and the state's environmental agency recently deciding — at least temporarily — that all of the company's coal ash impoundments must be excavated and the waste moved to safer dry storage. But the power giant is fighting back with the help of friends in high places. Duke Energy is among the most powerful political forces in the state, with a team of top-rated lobbyists and a generous political giving program. From 2013 through 2016, the company's political action committee spent over $578,000 on North Carolina elections, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics. In the first quarter of this year alone, it made over $200,000 in contributions to state legislative candidates.
By Bruce Henderson for The Charlotte Observer - Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good faced advocates Thursday at a shareholder meeting that has become an annual debate over the company’s environmental policies. Shareholder voting took care of most of the meeting’s official business, including re-election of 12 directors (four more retired) and approval of top executives’ pay. A shareholder proposal to let simple majority votes apply in more situations passed, while a proposal that Duke disclose more about its lobbying activities failed.
By Alex Kotch of DeSmog Blog. Around the nation, big utility companies are successfully lobbying lawmakers and regulators to restrict individual and corporate access to solar power, denying people significant savings on electricity bills and the opportunity to take part in the growing green energy economy. In third-party solar financing, a non-utility company installs solar panels on a customer’s property at little or no up-front cost, sometimes selling the solar energy back to the customer at rates typically lower than a utility would charge. Duke Energy, the largest utility in the U.S., has so far succeeded in keeping third-party solar illegal in North Carolina, but conservative and liberal factions alike are trying to change that, in different ways. At least four states—Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma and North Carolina—currently ban third-party sales of solar energy.
By Alex Kotch for Desmog - Around the nation, big utility companies are successfully lobbying lawmakers and regulators to restrict individual and corporate access to solar power, denying people significant savings on electricity bills and the opportunity to take part in the growing green energy economy. In third-party solar financing, a non-utility company installs solar panels on a customer’s property at little or no up-front cost, sometimes selling the solar energy back to the customer at rates typically lower than a utility would charge.
Steve Norris for Popular Resistance. Did you ever think protest was ineffective? Here in Asheville, even the threat of a small protest by a few people has derailed an important event that mammoth Duke Energy was planning in the coming week. We still have much work to do to stop their implementation ofObama's Clean Power plan. But in Round One, we who have just begin to create the fledgling NC Power Forward declare victory. Here's the scoop. Duke Energy is the largest utility in the US with assets of over $100 billion. It is the largest single emitter of green house gases. It emits 1.84 % of all GHG's in the US. It is the 12th largest emitter of toxic water pollution. Although it is good at providing reliable electricity, it is a dangerous monster juggernaut corporation.
By Steven Norris for Citizen Times - Under its so-called Energy Modernization Plan, Duke Energy Progress wants to build 752 MW of natural gas fueled electric generation in Asheville. Over the next 15 years, Duke Energy wants to build approximately 11,000 Megawatts (MW) of new gas fired power plants in NC. Duke’s “Energy Modernization Plan” is anything but modern: natural gas facilities would wed North Carolina ratepayers to nineteenth- century fossil- fuel infrastructure for decades to come.
By Steve Norris of Beyond Extreme Energy. Asheville, NC - This weekend activists in North Carolina made a frontal assault on Duke Energy's plans for 11,000 MW of new gas fired electrical generation, and on the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which Duke has captured and whose commissioners have become Duke's willing stooges. As it is elsewhere, the NC permitting process for fracked and natural gas infrastructureis shamefully rigged and predictable. Democracy has been undermined, and the regulators have taken it upon themselves to regulate us, the public, and to do the bidding of industry. Our goal for the weekend was to try to turn that around and restore energy democracy.
By Jim Warren of NC WARN. Durham, NC – Duke Energy responded to our insistence for careful examination of the need for a large gas-fired power plant near Asheville by pressing the NC Utilities Commission to fast-track its approval of the controversial project. The project would add nearly 800 megawatts of gas-fired generation capacity to service the western parts of both Carolinas. Duke has committed to closing two coal-fired units at the site, which provided power totaling 174 MW in 2014. NC WARN and The Climate Times has responded by reminding the Commission that it is required to carefully examine the project by conducting evidentiary hearings that allow expert testimony and cross-examination of Duke officials.