Duke Energy Carolinas filed 5,012 pages of written testimony, data analyses and appendices Monday in support of its request for an overall 9.7 percent North Carolina rate hike.
Buried in all those numbers is one thats most relevant to most customers: 14 percent. Thats the increase the majority of residential customers are being asked to pay.
Dukes news release said the hike, if approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission, would raise residential rates 11.8 percent. Thats actually a weighted average of the five rate schedules available to residential customers, including cheaper Energy Star and time-of-use rates.
But most customers are billed under Schedule RS. According to Dukes example of the impact residential customers could expect, the typical monthly bill of $102.72 would grow by $14.27 -- a 14 percent increase.
Customer groups and the states consumer advocates will pressure Duke to lower the rates its willing to accept before the Utilities Commission votes. Duke agreed to cut its 2011 rate request by more than half for all customer classes.
Two customer groups, representing energy-intensive industries and manufacturers, have already become formal parties to the rate case. The commissions independent Public Staff, which advocates for consumers, will play a major role. Nonprofit advocacy groups will also have a voice in the proceeding.
Duke said it needs the $446 million in new revenue to pay for $3.8 billion in capital spending since its 2011 rate case, including two new power plants and upgrades to its nuclear power plants and transmission network.
The new rates would likely take effect in September for Duke Carolinas 1.9 million North Carolina customers.