The North Carolina Attorney General's office is opposed to Duke Energy's latest request for higher rates, it announced Wednesday morning.
"People are already struggling to pay their bills and utilities want to raise rates yet again," Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. "We'll continue to fight these increases that fail to adequately take consumers into account."
Cooper filed late Tuesday with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to oppose the latest rate hike request by Duke Energy Carolinas, which could increase rates by 4.5 percent for the first two years and then 5.1 percent after that, the AG's office said.
This latest request to raise rates comes on top of a 7.2 rate hike for Duke Energy customers put in place earlier this year, which Cooper fought successfully in the North Carolina Supreme Court and is continuing to oppose.
The brief filed Tuesday focuses not on whether Duke Energy should be allowed to recover its investments, but on whether it should be allowed to raise customers' rates to make a 10.2 percent shareholder profit and a capital structure of 53 percent equity in this challenging economic climate.
In the brief, the attorney general cites an analysis by Moody's that shows North Carolinians currently pay a higher percentage of their household disposable income for electricity than all but six other states in the nation.