Monday, October 24, 2011

Is Now The Time For Duke Energy To Raise Rates?

In a mailer sent to customers this fall, Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC announced its plan to impose a 15.5% average increase on it's customers in 2012, so that it can reach an 11.5% return on equity goal.  Duke Energy cites several reasons for the increase including increased costs for employee benefits, employee buyouts, and capital expenditures, including the $3.7 million Coastal Demonstration Wind Turbine Project, which the company has abandoned. 

Duke Energy and other power companies are typically regulated by the federal and state governements since they have a monopoly on energy in much of the United States.  These regulations require that the companies make a fair case for any cost increases to the customers.  The state attorney generals and the state utilities commissions are charged with protecting the public from monopolisitic pricing.

In what is sure to be a hotly challenged rate increase given the current economy, many customers have lodged complaints against any increase.  Customer letters and responses can be seen here.

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