Progress Energy Carolinas filed its first general rate
increase since 1987 seeking to increase annual base revenues by $387 million,
an average of 12 percent.
The subsidiary of Duke Energy submitted the request to the
North Carolina Utilities Commission on Friday, Oct. 12.
The main component of the request is for investments to
modernize the power system.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Oct. 16, Duke Energy
spokeswoman Sharon Hall said the Sutton Plant near Wilmington is one of those
“The Sutton Plant, the work that’s going on there, is part
and a good representation of the overall strategy and investments that the
company is making,” Hall said.
The plant will be the third low-emission, natural gas-fueled
combined cycle plant after construction is completed in late 2013.
If the rate is approved, residents who use 1,000
kilowatt-hours per month can expect to see their bills raise $14.79, from
$105.15 to $119.94.
“There really is no typical house,” Hall said. “It’s a good
ballpark to understand the effect of the rate increase.”
The 14.2 percent increase would mean an additional $177.48
per year for a household using 1,000 kWh per month.
“We know there’s never a good time to seek a rate increase,”
Hall said. “We have worked hard to keep rates stable.”
She said during the past 25 years the costs of providing
service have increased and Progress Energy Carolinas has invested $11 billion.
“At some point we have to recoup those investments,” Hall
When Progress and Duke Energy merged in July, the rate went
down 85 cents for fuel costs. Fuel costs have gone up and down over the past 25
years, while the base rate has remained steady.
The next step will be for the public to provide input at
public hearings across the state before the NCUC makes a ruling.
“We have submitted what we think is a strong case,” Hall
said. “We have programs, and we’re committed to minimize the impacts as much as
The company services 1.3 million North Carolina households
The residential increase comes in at more than 5 percent
over the commercial and industrial increase of 9 percent.
“We understand that this is a tough time for our customers.
… This increase just reflects the investments we’ve made,” Hall said.
The effective date is proposed for mid-2013, Hall said, and would
only impact North Carolina Progress Energy customers. A resident who has a home
in Wrightsville Beach and a home in Charlotte would see two different rates on
his power bills.
Duke Energy is on a separate rate cycle, Hall said, but
those cycles are close together.
“Duke is on a similar path,” she said.