Just last week, Attorney General Roy Cooper appealed Duke Energy's 7% rate hike. While we don’t yet know how it will play out, we do know is that this is a victory for regular folks throughout the state that have had a tough couple of years economically.
Right now, around 10% of the labor force is unemployed in North Carolina. Take home pay for most North Carolinians has increased only around 2% over the past year. Yet just last year, Duke Energy came back with a startling request for 17% increase on your electricity bill that would have brought in a whopping 11.5% return for shareholders.
After discussions with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Duke settled on a 7% increase that would still bring in10.5% profit for their shareholders. That’s seven percent more of your money for dirty fossil fuel plants and dangerous nuclear plants. In essence, we’ve got to pay them more for the privilege of enriching their shareholders just to get poisoned on the other end of their smokestacks.
Duke Energy is showing a shocking disregard for the health and welfare of regular people just trying to get by. We applaud AG Cooper’s decision to appeal the utility commission’s order and we hope Mr. Cooper saw the hundreds that packed the rate hike hearings and thousands that submitted public comments to show their outrage at Duke Energy’s plans. We hope his decision was made because of the serious economic hardship Duke is dumping on ratepayers, in addition to the severe environmental damage Duke continues to wreak with it's addiction to dirty fossil fuels.
We hope Mr. Cooper will stand his ground.
Instead of padding the wallets of the 1% we want to see solutions for the 99% of North Carolinians that so desperately need them. We want Duke to quit coal and be a part of the solution. By guaranteeing renewable energy solutions like wind and solar for every home in North Carolina, we are ensuring that community supported energy production benefits the communities that we belong to – and not just the folks over at Duke Energy.
Let’s be clear: this rate hike is taxing families in North Carolina and the money will pay for more coal and more nuclear power and not more renewables right here at home.
We deserve better.
North Carolinians want economic and consumer justice. We want fair and affordable housing programs, the best education in the country, and equal access to jobs for all people. And we know that Duke Energy’s plans to continue bilking the ratepayers just to build dirty energy and enrich their shareholders just won’t get us where we need to be.
We want leadership, not dictatorship.
But we know they can change. We need to make sure they do. Until then, we invite ratepayers across the state to join the AG, Action NC and Greenpeace in fighting dirty rate hikes.
You can also check out this press release at: quitcoal.org