(The Center Square) – About 1.5 million Duke Energy Progress customers in central and eastern North Carolina can expect bigger electricity bills beginning this month following a recently approved rate increase.
The typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will have an increase of just over $8 to $152.16, followed by a $4.67 increase on Oct. 1, 2024, and another $5.15 increase on Oct. 1, 2025. By late 2025, the typical residential customer will pay about $162 a month.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the rate hike settlement in late September through a year-long rate review process that involved public staff that vets the proposal on behalf of ratepayers and other parties. The new rates will generate about $498 million in revenues for Duke Energy over the three years.
It’s the first time the commission has granted multi-year rate hikes, with a similar proposal for Duke Energy Carolinas still awaiting the commission’s approval. The commission is also considering rate hikes related to fuel costs.
Duke Energy officials say the revenues from the October increase are needed to complete about $6.3 billion in upgrades to make the grid more resistant to outages and enable faster power restoration. The increased rates come about 10 months after a combination of cold weather, high usage, and equipment failures at some facilities left about 500,000 without power on Christmas Eve.
“We’ve made major infrastructure enhancements in recent years to meet our customers’ needs and expectations, and this order will enable even more improvement while limiting annual rate increases and giving customers more cost certainty,” Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president, said in a statement.
The commission’s order also includes assistance for low-income customers, new options to reduce energy costs, and an incentive and penalty program that aligns with the state’s carbon reduction goals of 70% of 2005 levels by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.
The latter involves $10 million in potential rewards and $10 million in potential penalties for Duke Energy Progress focused on reliability, integration of renewable energy sources, and “time-differentiated and dynamic rate enrollment” that use rate designs to reduce system peak load.