Groups oppose Duke Energy's plan to bill North Carolina customers for nuclear in advance

Charlotte ObserverMay 15, 2012 

Consumer, environmental and anti-nuclear advocates said Monday they will fight proposed state legislation allowing Duke Energy to more easily pass costs of a new nuclear plant on to N.C. customers.

Duke wants N.C. lawmakers to allow it to recoup nuclear pre-construction and financing costs without filing a lengthy general rate case. The bill would instead let utilities adjust rates annually to recover those costs, something South Carolina, Georgia and Florida already allow.

Consumers Against Rate Hikes, a coalition of 12 groups, said it will fight to see that North Carolina does not repeat that “tragic mistake.”

The groups include AARP North Carolina, the N.C. Housing Coalition and the N.C. Waste Awareness & Reduction Network.

Duke has argued that the proposed simplified approach would reassure investors and allow customers to more gradually pay for new power plants, avoiding sharp rate hikes to pay for construction once they’re finished.

Critics say the practice puts customers on the hook for plants whose price tags are likely to grow, and would bill them even if a proposed plant is canceled. Read the full story at charlotteobserver.com.

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