Senior decision-makers come together to connect around strategies and business trends affecting utilities.

Post

Lawsuit Calls for Duke Energy, Not North Carolina Ratepayers, to Fund Coal Ash Cleanup

The Energy  Mix's picture
Blog posts The Energy Mix

The Energy Mix is a Canadian non-profit that promotes community awareness of, engagement in, and action on climate change, energy, and post-carbon solutions. Each week, we scan up to 1,000 news...

  • Member since 2018
  • 716 items added with 780,091 views
  • Nov 11, 2020
  • 553 views

EPA/Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina-based Duke Energy is pushing for permission from the state’s utility commission to impose rate increases to cover the US$9 billion it will need for coal ash cleanup. But the company will be seeing the state’s attorney general, along with local environmental groups, in supreme court.

The cleanup is the result of a January settlement agreement between Duke and the same environmental groups that had the mammoth utility promising to excavate 124 million tonnes of groundwater-polluting coal ash waste, and deal with it properly. But for this new lawsuit, the energy company is vowing to play hardball, reports Utility Dive.

“I think all parties are interested in hearing what the court and commissions have to say,” said Duke CEO Lynn Good, when asked by an analyst if the company would again be open to compromise in its quest for the rate increases. Duke is asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for 6% and 15.6% hikes in its Carolinas and Progress territories, respectively.

Local environmental groups are “staunchly opposed” to any such increases, reports Utility Dive. State Attorney General Josh Stein is appealing the rate changes in the Supreme Court of North Carolina, with hopes pinned on an NCUC ruling from earlier this year that Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Energy “could not earn a return on its coal ash cleanup investments.”

That ruling isn’t worrying the company, however. “We believe ash is a recoverable cost [and] the NCUC does as well,” Good told Utility Dive. “We also believe that we are entitled to earn a return on costs that are collected over a long period of time, consistent with the precedents of ratemaking in the state, and also consistent with the requirements of strong credit for the utility.”

The state, for its part, is arguing that the utility knew perfectly well that its coal ash was polluting groundwater, so it must be held liable for all cleanup costs. In his appeal announcement, the attorney general said Duke Energy’s failure to act prudently on a risk it well understood should not leave the citizens of North Carolina footing the bill.

“Duke’s shareholders should have to pay their fair share of the total cost.” he said.

Read More

The Energy  Mix's picture
Thank The Energy for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »