For the first time since 2011, Duke Energy customers in North Carolina will see higher bills if state regulators approve a rate increase request filed this week.
The utility says rates for residential customers will rise slightly - about $2 a month for a typical household using 1,000 kilowatt hours. That's a reversal from the past few years, when lower fuel prices brought rate decreases.
Duke says the increase will cover a loss on the sale of gypsum and coal ash, which are left after burning coal. That means the money Duke made selling the coal byproducts was less than its cost to manage the materials.
The rate increase also will help pay for renewable energy and efficiency programs.
If approved, the new rates will go into effect in two steps, the fuel and renewable energy adjustments on Sept. 1 and the adjustments for energy efficiency programs on Jan. 1.
Rate adjustments for fuel and renewable energy costs are filed annually. Duke also plans to seek a separate increase this summer to cover costs of coal ash cleanups at its North Carolina plants.