North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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Statement from AG Roy Cooper on coal ash cleanup costs

Release date: 6/18/2014

“Consumers shouldn’t foot the bill to clean up coal ash.  Many families and businesses are already struggling and simply can’t afford to pay more for power while utilities continue to earn high profits.  Coal ash must be cleaned up to protect our water and the utility can afford to pay for it more than consumers can.”

Attorney General Cooper today wrote to the General Assembly, urging them to not to pass along coal ash cleanup costs to consumers through higher utility rates.

The Attorney General has a history of advocating for consumers in utility rate cases in front of the Utilities Commission and in the Courts.  He is currently fighting several utility rate increases on behalf of consumers.

In a landmark ruling issued in April 2013, the North Carolina Supreme Court agreed with Cooper’s assessment that state law (NCGS § 62-133) requires the Utilities Commission to determine the impact on consumers before setting an allowable profit margin and agreeing to raise rates.  The Court again sided with Cooper in a similar ruling issued last week against a rate hike by Dominion Power, which provides electricity to parts of northeastern North Carolina.

Cooper is continuing to fight a 7.2 rate increase for Duke Energy customers along with an additional request by Duke Energy which could raise consumers’ rates by 4.5 percent for the first two years and then 5.1 percent after that.  He’s also fighting a 7.5 percent rate increase for Duke Energy Progress customers, formerly Progress Energy.  All cases are pending before the N.C. Supreme Court.

Media contact: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413