Duke Energy announced Thursday it is seeking approval from a state regulator to pass savings from the federal tax overhaul on to customers in Charlotte and elsewhere.
The Charlotte-based utility said the North Carolina Utilities Commission is evaluating options recommended by the company, including applying the tax savings to offset part of a rate hike Duke wants for customers in Charlotte and other parts of the state.
Duke said the commission has final authority on the proposals, making it too soon to say by what amount customer bills might change.
In a statement, Duke North Carolina President David Fountain said the move allows the company to reduce customer bills in the short term while also helping offset future rate increases.
“With a balanced approach, our customers can benefit from a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, while we continue to make smart investments on behalf of our customers,” Fountain said.
Among its recommendations, Duke suggested its tax savings could also be used to avoid billing customers for storm-related and environmental-compliance costs.
Duke submitted the proposals to comply with an order from the commission requiring it and other public utilities to explain how they will benefit from the federal tax cuts, which slash what companies pay on their profits from 35 percent to 21 percent. President Donald Trump signed the legislation, which Congress passed in December.
The commission will review Duke’s recommendations at the same time it considers the company’s request to raise bills by 13.6 percent on average for residential, commercial and industrial customers in central and western North Carolina. Rates would rise most for residents, who would see a 16.7 percent increase.