NC attorney general to appeal Duke Energy rate hike

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The state attorney general is appealing the 7.2 percent rate hike from Duke Energy that was approved by the state Utilities Commission in January.

Roy Cooper announced the appeal in a statement on Wednesday.

Cooper said the company “failed to properly take into account economic conditions faced by consumers” in requesting the rate increase.

Cooper said an “overwhelming majority” of people who attended public hearings on the rate increase last year were against the rate hike.

Cooper said the rate increase would allow the company to make a 10.5 percent shareholder profit.

Duke Energy officials said it needed a rate increase in part to pay for $4.8 billion in upgrades to power plants and pollution controls since 2009. Duke originally wanted a 15.2 percent average increase but dropped it after customer complaints.

The appeal isn’t focusing on whether the company should be allowed to recover its investment, the statement said.

It’s unclear when the state Supreme Court would hear the appeal.

A Duke Energy spokeswoman told the Associated Press the utility was disappointed with the appeal and expects the order will be upheld.

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