Duke Energy Progress raising household fee for renewables

06/24/2014 3:04 PM

06/25/2014 12:05 AM

Duke Energy Progress is proposing to pay for solar energy and other renewables by charging more to households and less to businesses. The company said shifting the cost to residential customers is based on North Carolina’s energy law.

The Raleigh-based utility, formerly called Progress Energy, told the N.C. Utilities Commission this week it wants to charge households 83 cents a month for the cost of renewable electricity. In North Carolina, renewable power comes primarily from solar farms.

Progress currently charges households 20 cents a month for renewables. The charge covers the subsidies paid to independent power generators to cover the extra costs of creating clean energy that electric utilities have to buy under the North Carolina’s 2007 energy law.

The company is proposing to cut the share businesses pay for renewables from $8.08 a month to $6.11 a month. The charge for industrial customers would drop from $29.68 a month to $24.56 a month.

The new charges would go into effect in December if approved by the Utilities Commission. Progress has 1.3 million customers in the state.

The reason for allocating more costs to households has to do with the legislative caps on subsidy amounts customers can pay in any given year. Under state law, the $150 annual business cap and the $1,000 annual industrial cap remain unchanged in 2015, but the residential cap nearly triples from $12 a year to $34 a year.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy Carolinas is also proposing similar rate changes. Duke’s proposals went to public hearings in June and will go into effect Sept. 1 as approved by the Utilities Commission.

Duke, with 1.9 million customers in the state, is currently crediting households 4 cents a month for renewables because the company over-estimated costs in past years. Duke is proposing to raise the monthly cost to 40 cents for residential customers.

Duke is also proposing that business charges drop from $3.25 to $1.25 a month, and industrial customers pay $5.30 a month instead of $11.10.

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