Duke Energy customers may pay for coal ash cleanup

Coal ash from the former Duke Energy Dan River Steam Station spills into the Dan River. (Waterkeeper Alliance)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good told the Charlotte Observer its customers likely will shoulder the costs of closing the rest of the utility’s coal ash ponds across North Carolina.

Good said customers benefited from the ash when it was the byproduct of making electricity for generations, so they should have to pay the costs of dealing with the ash now.

Duke Energy customers told WSOC that they’re opposed to paying for Duke Energy’s cleanup at coal ash ponds throughout the state.

Barbara Morales lives right across the street from the GG Allen Power Plant in Belmont.

For years she’s been concerned about the possibility of coal ash contamination spilling into the Catawba River or seeping into her well water.

“I’ve been worried about that,” said Morales.

Last month, Gov. Pat McCrory demanded Duke move coal ash away from water supplies, and last week a judge ruled the company must take immediate action to eliminate sources of groundwater contamination at coal ash sites.

Friday, WSOC asked whether rate payers would pick up that cost. Duke’s CEO said it’s an option.

In a recent corporate earnings report, the CFO said Duke will pay billions to comply with environmental regulations over the next 10 years.

The CFO said the Carolinas has a strong record of allowing utility companies to recover those costs by passing it along to customers in the form of higher rates.

Read more: The Charlotte Observer and WSOC

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