Duke Energy reports it cost about $30 million to comply with North Carolina’s renewable energy requirement last year. As that requirement doubles next year, Duke is petitioning for an increase in rates.
Since 2012, North Carolina utilities have had to obtain 3 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The utilities charge customers for the added cost. Next year, the renewable energy requirement doubles to six percent, but the law puts the onus on residential customers to pay for the added load.
“More than half of the energy ‘pie,’ about 59 percent, is now going to be paid for by residential customers,” says Duke spokeswoman Lisa Parrish. “About 36 percent is going to be paid by commercial customers, and about 5 percent is paid by industrial customers.”
In a filing with the state utilities commission, Duke Energy Progress proposes raising the residential surcharge from 20 cents a month to 80 cents a month. For Duke Energy Carolinas it would go from four cents to 35 cents.
In 2013, about a quarter of Duke’s renewable energy came from out-of-state purchases, another quarter from energy efficiency programs, and the rest from solar, hydro, biomass, and other in-state generation.
The North Carolina law maxes out in 2021, when companies will be required to supply one-eighth of their energy from renewables.