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NC panel hears views on Duke Energy rate increase

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WILMINGTON, NC (AP) -- North Carolina regulators are starting a series of hearings into a request by Duke Energy to raise electricity bills by almost 10 percent for nearly 2 million customers of Progress Energy Carolinas.

The North Carolina Utility Commission has scheduled hearings across the state beginning Tuesday in Wilmington. The panel meets again Wednesday evening in Rockingham. The hearings continue for the next month.

Progress Energy Carolinas wants to increase electric rates by an average of 9.7 percent, an amount estimated to raise another nearly $390 million. The company says it needs the rate increase to recover money it has already invested in new cleaner, more efficient power plants.

Duke Energy won a 7.2 percent increase last year, down from its 17 percent request.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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