On June 1, Duke Energy Progress (DEP) filed an Application for a rate increase with the N.C. Utilities Commission. The filing can be found here:http://starw1.ncuc.net/ncuc/ViewFile.aspx?Id=7e497cdb-bbfb-491d-ba4c-d52764d37112
The $477.5 million revenue increase, as proposed, would be distributed among classes of customers and result in rate increases as follows: 16.7% for the residential class, 15.4% for the small general service class, 12.9% for the medium general service class, 13.4% for the large general service class, and 6.1% for the outdoor lighting class. The average across all customers would be a 14.9% rate increase.
The Commission has not yet issued a scheduling Order, but the review by the Public Staff, interventions, intervenor and rebuttal pre-filed testimony and hearings will extend through the remainder of the year. DEP is asking the Utilities Commission for a ruling in time for the new rates to go into effect January 1, 2018.
DEP has said the rate increase is needed to modernize the company’s power grid, generate cleaner power, manage and close coal ash basins, respond to major storms, and for general maintenance, repairs and upgrades. Its news release can be found at https://news.duke-energy.com/releases/releases-20170601-6228699
The company’s cost calculations and revenue requirements will likely be challenged by consumer advocates, environmental groups, and customers whose businesses heavily dependent on electricity. One likely source of disagreement could be DEP’s intent to charge its customers $195 million per year for five years to begin recovering its costs for coal ash basin closure compliance.