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-burning 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-burning plant with cleaner natural gas for about $1 billion. The country's largest electric companywould 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 plant built.
Duke Energy says its forecasts regional electricity demand to grow by 17 percent in the next decade.