NC AG Argues Duke Wants Too Much In Rate Increase
Duke Energy sought the price increase after capital investments of $4.8 billion for power plant modernization, environmental compliance, and other construction projects approved by state regulators since 2009.
Lawyers for the utilities regulator and Duke Energy told the court the impact of higher rates was considered and the company's earlier 15.2 percent increase request reduced. The lesser rate increase and concessions to help poor households approved by the Utilities Commission were negotiated by the regulator's division that advocates for consumers, the Public Staff.
Attorneys for the Public Staff and Duke Energy played the unusual role of sitting together before the Supreme Court and arguing their deal benefited all sides.
"What the attorney general is in fact doing here is seeking to obtain all the benefits to residential customers of the settlement reached with Public Staff but to slough off any burden that's associated with that settlement. It's a package," said Duke Energy's attorney, Kiran Mehta.Since the utilities commission was created by law to balance several interests and set rates, its decisions are "by definition just and reasonable," Mahta said. North Carolina's attorneys general have rarely challenged utility rate increases to the Supreme Court. The last time may have been 1988 involving another Duke rate case, said a spokeswoman for Cooper, who took office in 2001. This case comes at a time that both Duke Energy and the utilities commission are under fire. Cooper's office and the utilities commission are running separate investigations into whether Duke Energy misled regulators ahead of its takeover of Raleigh-based Progress Energy, which was finalized in July. Hours after the deal was concluded, Duke Energy's board ousted the CEO promised throughout the 18-month process of combining North Carolina's two Fortune 500 energy companies. Duke Energy now has 7.1 million residential and business customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV