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Here’s how much Duke power bills are going up in eastern NC and around Asheville

Duke Energy plans to close its NC coal plants

Some advocates for closing plants say the changes aren't coming soon enough.
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Some advocates for closing plants say the changes aren't coming soon enough.

Power bills will be going up for Duke Energy Progress customers around Asheville and eastern North Carolina, according to the Associated Press.

The price hike will average about $5 for residential customers starting this weekend, the AP reports.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission issued the order Monday allowing the power company to increase rates 3.8 percent, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

Average residential bills will go from about $115 to a little more than $120, the Business Journal reports.

The Charlotte-based company said the rate hike includes changes in fuel costs and buying renewable energy, along with costs of buying local governments out of their share of the company’s nuclear power plants, the AP reports.

The Business Journal notes that most of the increase is to cover higher than usual fuel costs. Fuel costs were up for the company this year because of January’s “extreme weather,” the newspaper reports.

News & Observer reporters ride along with Waterkeeper Alliance to view a potential coal ash spill near Wilmington, N.C. on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

Over the summer, Duke Energy asked regulators for a rate increase on customers in central and western North Carolina in part to help cover the costs associated with coal ash cleanup around the state, the Charlotte Observer reported in June.

Regulators rejected the rate increase, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported, and fined Duke Energy $70 million for its handling of the coal ash and made the company return $60 million from deferred taxers to customers.

The AP reports that Duke customers this summer did end up with a 1.2 percent increase over four years starting with an average 84-cent increase this year.

That’s on top of another $7.63 increase in March, the AP reports.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting
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