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Power bills are going up slightly for Duke Energy households in central and western North Carolina this week.
Electricity rates will increase slightly for thousands of North Carolina households even though state regulators rejected Duke Energy's most recent rate hike request.
Instead of a rate increase, state regulators are demanding the company pay up to customers as well as to the state.
Coal ash has been a problem for residents along Flemington Road in New Hanover County. Now, some are upset after the company responsible is increasing rates.
Duke Energy initially wanted to charge customers an additional $477.5 million an increase of 14.9-percent for customers.
Despite a public hearing where Pender County residents spoke out about a proposed water rate hike, the North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the request.
Still at issue is whether the company will be allowed to charge consumers the full, multibillion-dollar cost of cleaning up its coal ash pits.
One of Duke Energy's North Carolina divisions wants to raise electricity rates by an average of 15 percent to pay for system upgrades, conversion to more natural gas and cleaning up coal ash pits.
Piedmont Natural Gas wants to cut the cost for its customers. The company said in a statement it thinks the one-time credit would get money to customers more quickly than a reduction in rates.