The North Carolina Utilities Commission opens a hearing Monday on Duke Energy’s revised request for a rate hike for customers in western North Carolina, including the Charlotte area.
Initially, Duke requested an overall rate increase of 13.4 percent. The company said it needed the extra revenue to help build and upgrade facilities, continue coal ash cleanups in North Carolina and cover other costs.
The consumer advocate arm of the Utilities Commission opposed the rate request, and many Duke Energy customers objected during public hearings in January. Last week, the company and the commission’s Public Staff reached a partial settlement to trim the proposed rate hike. Under the agreement, Duke Energy would raise rates in western North Carolina by an average of about 10 percent.
The hearing that opens Monday afternoon in Raleigh is for the Utilities Commission to hear from expert witnesses for Duke Energy, as well as the public staff and other parties. Duke and the commission staff still disagree on several details, including charges for dealing with coal ash and whether recent federal tax cuts should affect the company’s rate case.
In a separate case, the commission recently approved a 6 percent increase in rates for customers of Duke Energy Progress in eastern North Carolina and the Asheville area.