Duke Energy may report data on outages to public

As part of merger, utility agrees to post consistent information on problems

bhenderson@charlotteobserver.comNovember 28, 2012 

Ever wonder, Duke Energy customers, how your service compares to that of other utilities?

You’re about to find out. Duke has agreed to file, for the first time, quarterly reports that compare its North Carolina power-outage data to industry benchmarks.

Thirty-six other states require utilities to publicly report how often, and for how long, outages occur.

But as the Charlotte Observer reported last year, it’s near impossible for North Carolina customers to get that information.

Duke closely monitors the data but doesn’t publicly report it. To complicate matters, utilities differ in how they measure and report results to the two widely-used indexes of industry reliability.

The N.C. Utilities Commission’s Public Staff, which advocates for consumers, recommended a change. When the commission approved Duke’s merger with Progress Energy in June, it required the companies to find a way standardize the indices and report their service quality.

This week, the two Duke subsidiaries that serve the Carolinas proposed a rule they developed with the Public Staff. The rule bases quarterly performance reports on industry indices for outage duration and frequency, and sets standards to ensure the data is used consistently.

The utility that serves northeastern North Carolina, Dominion North Carolina Power, and the N.C. Electric Membership Corp., which represents cooperatives, did not sign on to the proposal.

It’s up to the N.C. Utilities Commission to approve the rule.

In August 2011, the industry indexes showed Duke’s outage performance in North Carolina had steadily improved since 2003. Progress Energy, now a Duke subsidiary, showed improved performance after 2006, followed by an uptick in outages in 2010.

Henderson: 704-358-5051 Twitter: @bhender

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