NC Supreme Court overturns Duke Energy rate hike - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

NC Supreme Court overturns Duke Energy rate hike

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina's highest court has overturned a substantial rate hike sought by Duke Energy and approved by state utilities regulators.

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state Utilities Commission did not adequately consider the negative impact on consumers by allowing Duke to raise electricity rates for 1.8 million households and businesses by 7.2 percent. The commission voted in January 2012 to allow the rate increase, which would generate an extra $309 million in annual revenue for Duke.

The rate package Duke proposed included a 10.5 percent profit for the company's subsidiary operating in the western half of the state, pushing the typical residential bill up by $84 a year to almost $1,236. While hundreds of consumers objected that the requested increase would pile misery atop high unemployment and home foreclosures, the utilities commission's order approving the lower rate increase didn't indicate what, if any, weight the oversight board gave those concerns.

Attorney General Roy Cooper's office argued in court last year that the commission failed to balance the interests of both customers and investors in overseeing the Charlotte company, now the nation's largest electricity provider following its 2012 takeover of rival Progress Energy. The court agreed, sending the case back to the utilities commission for further consideration.

"The commission must take customer interests into account when making" a return on equity determination, the justices wrote.

Cooper praised the ruling.

"This is great news for consumers who spoke loudly and clearly on how hard this rate increase would hit their wallets," Cooper said. "In a time of economic hardship, the effect on customers must be taken into consideration, not just profits. We're glad the court agreed and hope rates will be set fairly."

Duke Energy has more than 7.1 million residential and business customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida. The North Carolina commission has been widely criticized for being too ready to accommodate the company's merger timetable and rushing through its duty to ensure the deal was in the state's best interest.

The electricity giant and its regulator are expected to have multiple rate cases in the coming years as Duke Energy seeks to update and expand its portfolio of power plants.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Indictment: Prosecutor was target of Wake Forest kidnapping

    Indictment: Prosecutor was target of Wake Forest kidnapping

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:57:33 GMT
    The U.S. Department of Justice said Kevin Melton has been charged with conspiring to kidnap in relation to the abduction of Frank Janssen from his Wake Forest homeThe U.S. Department of Justice said Kevin Melton has been charged with conspiring to kidnap in relation to the abduction of Frank Janssen from his Wake Forest home
    Nine people have been indicted in connection with the kidnapping of a Wake Forest man whose daughter prosecuted a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang.
    Nine people have been indicted in connection with the kidnapping of a Wake Forest man whose daughter prosecuted a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang.
  • High school senior kicked out of prom for wearing pants

    High school senior kicked out of prom for wearing pants

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-04-22 16:27:58 GMT
    According to a senior at Cherryville High School, a pair of her red skinny jeans got her kicked out of her Senior Prom and has started a bit of a controversy at the school since. "In a way it's kind of
    According to a senior at Cherryville High School, a pair of her red skinny jeans got her kicked out of her Senior Prom and has started a bit of a controversy at the school since.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.