Poll: Duke Energy, not customers, should pay ash costs

Duke Energy’s shareholders, not its customers, should pay to clean up the utility’s 33 coal ash ponds, a new poll of North Carolina voters shows.

NC WARN, a Durham advocacy group that has fought Duke on rate hikes and other issues, commissioned the poll of 500 North Carolina voters.

The poll found that 91 percent of those questioned said Duke should pay the costs of closing its ponds, WARN said. Duke has estimated those costs at up to $10 billion.

Eighty-two percent indicated they would vote against political candidates who support passing cleanup costs to customers. Legislation moving through the N.C. Senate this week would force Duke to close all its ash ponds within 15 years but does not address costs other than for spills.

Seventy-seven percent want all the ponds cleaned up, not just the one that spilled ash into the Dan River on Feb. 2.

Sixty-three percent said they’re concerned that low-income communities will be targeted as ash disposal sites.

TelOpinion Research of Alexandria, Va., conducted the poll last Thursday and Friday.

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