North Carolina Supreme Court Rules on Duke Energy Mandatory Fee Appeal
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The North Carolina Supreme Court today issued an opinion in an appeal upholding the North Carolina Utilities Commission’s decision to approve an increase in mandatory fees paid by residential customers of Duke Energy Carolinas. In 2018, the utilities commission approved an increase in the mandatory monthly fee on residential customer bills from $11.80 to $14.00. Clean energy and low-income advocates appealed the increase because it would diminish the incentive for households to invest in energy efficiency and solar energy, and would disproportionately burden low-income households.
“We are disappointed that the court has upheld the Utilities Commission’s unsupported decision to approve a hike in the mandatory monthly fee that all Duke Energy Carolinas customers must pay,” said Gudrun Thompson, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented several of the groups that appealed the decision. “At a time when many households are struggling to pay their electricity bills, the court’s decision undercuts customers’ ability to control their bills with clean energy solutions like energy efficiency.”
“Two and a half years ago, the Utilities Commission’s approval of a rate hike that was unsupported by the evidence was a blow to North Carolina’s energy consumers,” said Peter Ledford, General Counsel and Directory of Policy for NCSEA, who was one of the groups that appealed the Utilities Commission’s decision. “NCSEA was hopeful that the North Carolina Supreme Court would acknowledge the unjust and unsupported nature of this rate hike and reverse the Utilities Commission’s decision. Instead, the court added insult to injury in upholding a rate hike during a pandemic and economic downturn.”
Southern Environmental Law Center
For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is the leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that drives public policy and market development for clean energy. NCSEA’s work enables clean energy jobs, economic opportunities, and affordable energy options for all North Carolinians. Learn more about NCSEA, its mission, and vision at www.energync.org.