Who Will Pay Higher Utility Rates?

The merger between Progress Energy and Duke Energy included promises of price breaks for industrial customers in exchange for support of the $32 billion dollar merger, according to testimony by company executives testifying before the N.C. Utilities Commission.  The deals were not meant to be public, but the NCUC unsealed the files last year.

The requested discounts for nearly 4000 industrial customers would come at the expense of other customers, like homeowners and small businesses, who would pay an increase of 7.3%, with the industrial customers getting a rate decrease of .4%.    The rationale that price breaks for industrial companies would save jobs, but the utility asks only that the company promises not to lay off any employees, although there is no monitoring to assure that commitment.  If a company does lay off workers, they simply reapply to Progress, with no limit.

The hearings continue, and the NCUC will make a ruling this summer sometime.

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