Duke Energy is not only a private, for-profit company, it is also a monopoly. What other choice do we, as consumers, have to turn on our lights, our heaters, our air conditioners? Lest we back-pedal to firewood, candles and ice boxes, we are pretty much dependent on Duke Energy.
I am a dyed-in-the-wool, free-market capitalist (I also own utility stocks), but in this case, the shareholders have enjoyed a steady gain in their “per share” value (closed at $33.84 on March 15, 1995; closed at $70.24 on March 18) plus a healthy dividend. Had Duke been handling the ash properly, these profits would not have been as great.
“Fixing” this problem should not fall solely on the backs of defenseless consumers. We did realize a cheaper power expense because of the environmental neglect so this should be a shared expenditure. Reach into the the deep Duke coffers and bump the price up a bit.
Dickie Benzie, Charlotte