Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Utilities Commission urged to put squeeze on Duke Energy before merger approval

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Raleigh’s News & Observer ran a great piece about the Duke Energy-Progress Energy merger that we hope gets lots of attention. Rob Schofield of N.C. Policy Watch and Al Ripley of the N.C. Justice Center urge the Utilities Commission, which is currently considering the mammoth monopolies’ merger, to use the hearings to do more to help out low-income customers — something that other states are doing on a much larger scale than in N.C. Here are some key excerpts from the N&O piece:

There are models in other states to establish large, well-funded, utility-underwritten initiatives to weatherize many thousands of homes and modernize appliances. Other states have aggressive and innovative programs to promote other good conservation practices and even to construct low-income housing that makes use of solar power and other renewable resources. Still others have enacted so-called "percentage of income plans" and expanded shut-off protections for very poor consumers that actually end up saving the utilities and other rate-payers money.
If implemented on a large scale in North Carolina, such programs could take an important bite out of poverty in this state and help rein in explosive growth in the state's carbon footprint.
No one expects Duke, Progress or a new combined statewide monopoly to solve all of North Carolina's energy and poverty woes. The problems have been long in the making and will not be solved overnight. Still, the notion that North Carolina might allow such a huge and unprecedented event as a Duke-Progress merger to take place without requiring more of a regulated monopoly that exists to serve the public interest than a token, one-time contribution - say, 10 to 20 times more - is shocking.

Reddy Kilowatt says, Hey, Duke Energy! Pony up some help for the poor
  • Reddy Kilowatt says, "Hey, Duke Energy! Pony up some help for the poor"

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