Duke Energy wants customers to help with $760M storm cost


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The clean-up from Hurricane Florence hit many of us hard in the wallet. Now it could hit even more people if the area’s largest power provider gets its way.

Duke Energy says recent storms have cost it $760 million in North and South Carolina.

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“Within a four month span, North Carolina endured three massive storms that claimed lives, crippled communities and destroyed homes and businesses,” Duke spokeswoman Meredith Archie said in an email to WWAY. “These storms caused significant devastation that required us to completely rebuild parts of our system in order to restore power to our customers.”

Archie says after Hurricane Florence, Duke had 142 substations and 53 transmission lines out of service, as well as more than 220 miles of downed wire, approximately 5,700 downed poles, and 2,200 damaged transformers across the Carolinas’ system. In all, Florence knocked out power to 1.6 million customers in North Carolina. Archie says Duke Energy mobilized more than 20,000 people to get the lights back on. That’s the largest storm response workforce in the company’s history.

“We are not requesting any change to rates at this time,” Archie said. “Instead we are asking the NC Utilities Commission (NCUC) to reserve the costs that exceeded a normal range of storm costs that are used to set what we are currently collecting from customers for storm response and to consider the costs in a future rate change request.”

The NCUC will eventually decide how customers rates will be affected.

Archie says Duke Energy is seeking to defer the final storm expenses incurred above the amount above what the NCUC has deemed within normal range:

Duke Energy Progress (which includes the Wilmington area):

  • $374 million in operation and maintenance expense, less $22M NCUC has deemed in normal range
  • $78 million in capital costs

Duke Energy is also asking for $142 million in operation and maintenance and $18 million in capital costs for Duke Energy Carolinas.