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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Progress Energy says it has asked the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a rate increase the company says would push residential bills up an average of 14.2 percent.

Progress Energy says the overall 12 percent increase, which would generate an estimated $387 million a year, is needed to offset higher operating expenses and the cost of building state-of-the-art, low-emission power plants.

The energy company says the proposed increase would raise residential rates more than commercial and industrial rates, more accurately reflecting the cost of serving residential customers.

“One way or another, they are going to extract the money from you and we all have to pay for our energy don’t we,” Progress Energy customer Rich Lehrer said.

The total net residential increase, as proposed, would average 14.2 percent. The bill for an average residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would increase to $119.94 from the current $105.15. That includes an increase in the standard customer charge to $13.50 per month from the current $6.75.

Customer Oliver Young said, “It really just makes it harder for me. I work a blue collar job. It’s just tough, you know.”

The average net increase for commercial and industrial customers would be about nine percent.

The largest portion of the request is for investments made to modernize the power system. Progress Energy Carolinas is retiring 12 coal-fired units at five sites and replacing them with natural-gas-fueled plants, including in Wilmington.

But with Progress also running a nuclear plant in our area, Lehrer doesn’t understand why bills would go up.

“It doesn’t make sense for everyone here in Wilmington when in fact we’re nuclear energy. We’re already low emissions, so it seems to me that we are paying for what they’re having to do somewhere else,” Lehrer said.


Comment on this Story

  • robo

    This magnitude of rate increase was promised by President Obama when he started his green energy initiative. Now it has come home to roost. Blame the EPA and the current administration.

  • Guestof Reason

    1. How many of these coal fired plants are outside Progress Energy’s territory before the merger?
    2. Why is the justification for DOUBLING the standard customer charge?
    3. Why should we continue (yes, look at your current bill) to pay a premium for “Renewable Energy”, most of which is sent out of state?

    REPS* Charge: These are costs incurred for acquiring electric generation from renewable energy and
    energy-efficiency resources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass and other sources. The REPS charge
    is reviewed annually by the NCUC and adjusted to reflect changes in the actual costs incurred.
    *REPS stands for “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.” A 2007 North Carolina law requires the company to provide an increasing
    percentage of energy sales from renewable resources, subject to a rate cap. The requirement grows from 3 percent in 2012 to 12.5
    percent of retail sales in 2021 and includes specific requirements for energy generated from solar sources, poultry waste and hog
    waste. The company has signed contracts to purchase energy from a number of solar photovoltaic arrays, biofuels facilities and
    other renewable sources, and continues to scour the market for additional cost-effective renewable energy opportunities

    4. Did someone say that “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”?

  • Guest12131

    Easy second job. Typical reply from a government employee. I left state government after 17 years because of pay. When I did work for the state I got approved for secondary employment to meet my financial obligations.

  • Guest Republican

    Well, you do have a choice in the matter. You can either work for a different employer or cut out a trip to McDonalds or maybe just maybe not living above your means?

  • Truthseeker

    A rate increase for what? CEO and VP’s need bigger bonuses. It cost big money to have vacation homes, Mercedes, yachts and girlfriends. So how else to pay for it. Hey the middle class is always getting the shaft and there is nothing they can do about it. Because we do not show up at the voting booths with enough strength to rule. We are the majority or used to be. Maybe with Obama the poor are the majority. When we use our inherent power to vote in who will really protect our interest we will suffer!

  • B M

    How’s that HOPE and CHANGE thing working out for you???? Let’s see, Obama said he was going to get rid of COAL!!!, guess what, where does the majority of electricity come from??, (I’ll give you a little hint for the mentally challenged, yes , that’s right, from coal powered plants, so if you are going to get rid of clean coal, then someone has to foot the bill, hence the need for a rate hike to switch over), do I like it?, NO! but neither do I like 4.00 a gallon gas, double grocery prices in the last 4 years, doubl insurance premiums, and soon to be double health care premiums, the increse next year to business’s in health care coverage for their employee’s alone more than justify’s a 15% increase in power rates, heck, if power companies were keeping pace with fuel, groceries, and insurance premiums we would be looking at 100% increase’s, after all, we can just plug our car’s into the wall socket and save enough money on transportation cost alone to offset all the increases to cost of living for the last 4 years of this administration.

  • State Employee

    How can I live if I have not had a pay raise in years as a state employee yet the cost of everything is rising. I’m in a sinking ship.

  • devils advocate

    Not that I agree with the rate hike…lord knows i dont want to pay more myself….however it did say they are retiring 12 coal-fired units and replacing them with natural gas… which i am sure alot of people are very happy about. So if everyone wants cleaner energy….from our own country…then we all have to pay for it do we not? Again a rate hike stinks and I dont want to pay either.On another note, its funny we all complain about the cost to have electricity…to power an entire house…yet we are willing to pay the same, if not more, for a cell phone and cable :)Just thought i would be devils advocate…

  • Obama2012

    WELL SAID!!!

  • Why in the world would you BLAME Mitt Romney for this? The economic divide AND THE RACIAL DIVIDE in this country have been pushed to the forefront by Obama. You are in this situation today because of Obama. You must be like him…never willing to take personal responsibility. You’ll notice that I have never called him “President” Obama while posting here. You wanted it…you got it…now deal with it.

  • Guest3130

    Gas prices – up.
    Homeowners insurance costs – up.
    Property taxes – up.
    Home heating & electricity – up.
    Food prices – up.

    It’s not going to be long before the every-day people finally just rise up and say “Hell, No,” and begin to take matters into their own hands.

    And it’s got nothing to do with President Obama (or any other politician), it’s OUR faults for sitting by & allowing just one freaking more price rise happen on the backs of the middle class. Enough is enough.

  • GuestStateEmployee

    We did get a 1.2% raise this year. The first since 2008.

  • Guest7969

    ..”cost of building state-of-the-art, low-emission power plants” See how all that hope/change crap works people?!

  • Guestaliban

    Expect the rich to get richer under Romney/Republicans, because they will bend over backwards to keep the working/middle classes powerless and dependent upon them.

    The economic divide in this country will soon completely overwhelm the system as people won’t be able to afford these insurance and utility increases. These corporations don’t care about creating jobs—they only want MORE money for their CEOs! Wake up, Americans!!!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    ALL of these plants are Progress plants. Pressure to get them converted to natural gas quickly has been intensified by Duke, who is 100% on board with this “green” nonsense.

    What you are witnessing is the end result of governmental pressure to destroy the coal business. In addition to electric rates rising as we convert to natural gas, you will soon see increases in prices for anything that travels by rail, because five of the seven Class A railroads operating in North America are seeing decreased revenue from coal shipments. They have to make up that revenue somewhere, and it will be coming from your wallet when you buy a car, a box of cereal, a television, or anything else coming in by rail.

    You have an opportunity to voice your opinion on the War on Coal on November 6th.

    Finally, Brunswick plant is ONE powerplant of many, all feeding a grid that powers the state and helps to power entire Southeast. To think that we shouldn’t have to pay what every other NC customer has to pay because Brunswick plant is in our backyard reflects an incredible ignorance of how the transmission system operates.

  • Citizen of the Republic

    They always ask for twice as much as the North Carolina Utilities Commission will give them.

    They get half of the increase, the Commission gets to thump their chest, and proclaim a battle won for the people.

    Then, when the Commissioners leave, they go to work for the industry.

    Also, where are the profits. They want the increase to modernize the plants. How much are they spending out of profits to keep things up to date.

    Wonder what would happen if they received a 0% increase like most people.

    Things are really looking poorly for North Carolina and for America.

    Energy prices ^
    Homeowners ins ^
    Groceries ^
    Fuel prices ^
    Clothing ^
    Entertainment ^

    The only segment of the economy going well is the “Green Energy” loans from the taxpayer, the company ends up in bankruptcy, and the head honchos get rich.

    Thats change you can believe in.

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