Power companies want to pay less for solar energy

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Progress Energy and its parent company, Duke Energy, want to slash what they pay solar generators for electricity by as much as 29 percent.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the companies are linking their request to the plummeting cost of natural gas. Progress Energy argues it's overpaying for the green energy it's required to buy under state law and passing on those inflated costs to customers.

Progress is seeking steeper payment cuts than Duke. The request comes as Progress Energy seeks a 14 percent rate increase for North Carolina residential customers.

Advocates of renewable energy say North Carolina's solar industry already operates on very thin margins due to the impending loss of a subsidy, and the proposed cuts could bring the industry to a standstill.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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