N.C. Utilities Commission approves rate increase for Duke Energy customers in North Carolina

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) approved Duke Energy Progress' proposed settlement in the company's request to increase electric rates for its North Carolina customers.

Under the terms of approval, the total rate increase will be implemented over two years. Electric rates will increase by $147.4 million, or an average of 4.5 percent, beginning June 1, 2013.

Rates will increase by an additional $31.3 million, or 1 percent, beginning June 1, 2014. The total increase in rates over the two-year period will be $178.7 million, or an average increase of 5.5 percent for all customers.

The year-two increase accounts for $31.3 million in costs associated with the construction of new natural gas combined-cycle generation at the Sutton Plant in Wilmington, N.C.

This table shows the average impact of the proposed changes for each customer class. The specific increase or decrease for individual customers will vary depending on the rate they pay and other factors.

The bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kWh of electricity per month would increase to $111.39 from the current $104.06. That includes an increase in the basic customer charge to $11.50 per month from the current $6.75.

Even with the approved rate increase, the company's rates remain below the national average, according to Duke Energy Progress.

The approved settlement was agreed upon by Duke Energy Progress and the N.C. Public Staff, which represents the public interest in a rate proceeding. Duke Energy Progress originally requested an average increase in retail revenues of 11 percent, or $359 million.

In approving the settlement, the N.C. Utilities Commission also approved the company's proposed nuclear levelization accounting as well as a new coal inventory rider allowing the company to recover carrying costs on coal inventory levels above those included in base rates.

Duke Energy Carolinas, which also serves customers in North Carolina, has a separate rate increase pending before the commission. Public hearings on that case are being held in May and June, with an evidentiary hearing before the N.C. Utilities Commission scheduled for July 8.

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