NC bill would prevent Duke Energy from increasing rates to pay for coal ash cleanup

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BELMONT, N.C. — State lawmakers are getting ready for a fight because some of them want to stop Duke Energy from charging customers for coal ash cleanup, WSOC reports.

House Bill 567 says the Utilities Commission shall not allow an electric public utility to recover from its retail electric customers any costs related to the management of coal ash.

The bill makes sense and should gain bipartisan support, Rep. Christy Clark, D-Mecklenburg, said on the phone Wednesday.

“We need to remember our number one job is to protect the citizens in this state and, by passing it, that would be a first step in that direction regarding coal ash,” she said.

Duke Energy advocated for a less expensive cleanup option — one that the utility company said would be just as safe. On Monday, the state-mandated full excavation of those remaining coal ash basins. Duke Energy has said that could cost as much as $10.6 billion.

The bill has about 13 sponsors. The primary sponsor said if it passes, Duke Energy could challenge it in court.

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