Duke Energy accepts lower rate increase, profit

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Latest on regulatory hearings to decide how large a rate increase to allow a Duke Energy subsidiary (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

The nation’s largest electric company has agreed to seek a lower rate increase on more than a million North Carolina customers and charge a lower potential profit margin, but still wants nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal.

Duke Energy Corp. and consumer advocates working for the North Carolina Utilities Commission said Monday they’ve agreed to a partial settlement as the company’s seeks a reduced 13 percent rate increase. The company is now willing to accept a nearly 10 percent potential profit margin, down from almost 11 percent.

The two sides say still at issue is whether the Charlotte-based company’s subsidiary in eastern North Carolina will be allowed to charge consumers the full cost of cleaning up its coal ash pits.

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10:20 a.m.

The nation’s largest electric company is revising the rate increase it wants from North Carolina consumers as it works to pass long nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal.

Duke Energy Corp. and consumer advocates working for the North Carolina Utilities Commission say they’re postponing hearings scheduled to start Monday. The two sides said in an official filing they could announce a partial settlement Monday ahead of hearings now scheduled to start Nov. 27.

The company’s Duke Energy Progress subsidiary says in a separate regulatory filing that it’s reducing its overall rate request from 15 percent to 13.2 percent.

The Charlotte-based company still wants customers to pay the full cost of cleaning up its coal ash pits.

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2:30 a.m.

The nation’s largest electric company is fighting to persuade regulators that North Carolina consumers should pay 15 percent more on average, including nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal to generate power.

Consumers, the state’s attorney general and the state’s utilities consumer advocate are digging in ahead of hearings starting Monday. Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp.’s requested $478 million passes along the full cost of cleaning up its coal ash pits.

The rate increase would affect customers of Duke Energy Progress, the subsidiary that operates in much of eastern North Carolina and around Asheville. It would add an extra $18 per month to the typical household bill of $105.

Duke Energy’s western North Carolina subsidiary is seeking a separate 17 percent increase on households.

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