NC Utilities Commission

Strata Solar

North Carolina energy regulators quietly released one of their most significant, long-awaited decisions of 2014, just as the year was ending. The state Utilities Commission had spent nearly the entire year re-evaluating the rules for solar energy. On Wednesday, the commission decided to leave substantially intact the rules which have underlied a solar energy boom in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Supreme Court is once again pondering how much you pay on your electric bill. The court heard oral arguments Monday about whether state regulators adequately considered customer finances when approving rate increases for Duke Energy in 2011 and 2013.

Duke Energy/Flickr

Duke Energy earned more than $600 million in its second quarter this year, 80 percent more than last year.

Electric utilities and renewable energy developers are facing off this week in front of the North Carolina utilities commission over the price of renewable energy, and how much companies like Duke Energy should have to pay for it. The dispute has drawn in both national environmental organizations and Google.

Mike Linksvayer / Flickr

North Carolina fell a bit in the most recent rankings of solar energy production across the nation but despite the dip, the solar landscape still looks strong, at least this year.

Duke Energy/Flickr

A utility sales tax hike in North Carolina is set to take effect in July.  That means your bill will go up.  But first the utilities commission must decide whether to help offset that increase by decreasing rates.  The state’s consumer advocate wants the commission to do that because taxes are going down for Duke Energy. 

Is Duke Rate Hike Settlement A Deal Or A Dupe?

Jun 13, 2013

Duke Energy has struck a deal with the state's top utility customer advocate that, on the surface, seems like a pretty good deal for ratepayers. But some advocacy groups wonder if we're being played.

A pattern is emerging: Two years in a row, Duke Energy has come in asking for a big rate hike - 9.7 percent in this latest case - only to turn around a few months later and settle for an increase half as big. 

"You know, this is the game," says Jim Warren, of the advocacy group NC WARN.

The North Carolina Supreme Court has ordered state utility regulators to go back and reconsider the rate hike it granted Duke Energy last year.  Specifically, the court says North Carolina Utilities Commissioners failed to consider how the increase would affect customers in the midst of an economic downturn.

Duke's 2012 Earnings Bolstered By Higher Rates

Feb 13, 2013
Duke Energy/Flickr

Duke Energy reported modest earnings for 2012 of about $3 per share – but the number would have been much lower if Duke hadn't raised electric rates in the Carolinas by 7 percent last year. WFAE's Julie Rose reports on this classic case of conflicting interests – where pain for ratepayers means profit for investors:

McCrory Could Re-shape NC Utilities Regulation

Jan 10, 2013

Governor Pat McCrory has been busy in recent weeks filling his cabinet and top staff positions. And in at least three cases he's appointed former colleagues from his 28 years working at Duke Energy. That's led some to worry McCrory will follow the same pattern when he turns his attention to four impending vacancies at the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which is Duke Energy's primary regulator in the state. WFAE's Julie Rose takes a look now at this regulatory body McCrory has the opportunity to radically reshape.