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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Progress Energy Carolinas is asking for a nearly four-percent rate increase for its North Carolina customers to help pay for higher fuel costs to generate power and the utility’s investment in energy efficient and renewable energy programs.

The utility announced the proposed 3.8 percent rate increase Friday. If approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the new rates would go into effect Dec. 1.

The rate hike would increase the bill of a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity by $3.87 to just over $106.

Progress is asking for an average 4.4 percent rate increase for commercial customers and a 5.8 percent increase for industries.

The utility has about 1.3 million customers in North Carolina.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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