Regulators face deadline to OK $1 billion Duke Energy gas plant

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina electricity regulators face a deadline as they consider the pros and cons of allowing Duke Energy to replace an Asheville coal-fired power plant with units fueled by natural gas.

The Monday deadline for the North Carolina Utilities Commission to decide whether to approve construction was set by state legislators last year.

Duke Energy says it can replace the coal-fired power plant with cleaner natural gas for about $1 billion. The country's largest electric company would pass along the costs plus a profit margin to its customers.

Environmental groups say Duke Energy is overstating the future electricity need in the North Carolina mountains to get the power plant built.

Duke Energy says its forecasts regional electricity demand to grow by 17 percent in the next decade.

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