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Progress Energy: could cost $1 billion to clean up power plants

RALEIGH (AP) -- More than $1 billion. That's how much Progress Energy says it could pay to clean up coal-burning power plants in North Carolina and South Carolina, and more than half of the cost could fall on consumers. The power company says that in order to comply with a 2002 environmental law, customers could pay $542 million of the total cost. That means a typical household bill would increase by about $1.50 each month. But the Raleigh-based utility says it doesn't expect to raise rates in North Carolina any time soon. Progress Energy spokesman David McNeil says the current rates were last set in 1988 and have allowed the company to spend more than $4 billion on transmission lines, power plants and other upgrades. The utility company released its cost estimates this week to the North Carolina Utilities Commission. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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