Rising demand following COVID-19 shutdown paired with sharply rising fuel costs, which Duke Energy does not profit on, will increase customer prices.
If approved, customers will see their monthly bills increase starting in September.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy Carolinas yesterday made its annual filings with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for costs associated with fuel, state programs to encourage renewable energy adoption, and energy efficiency and demand management programs to reduce energy use.
Duke Energy Carolinas is proposing an increase in monthly fuel costs as part of its annual adjustment of the actual cost of fuel used to power North Carolina homes and businesses. By law, the company makes no profit from the fuel component of rates.
The NCUC reviews the fuel costs required to serve customers to ensure an accurate adjustment is made each year. If approved, the new fuel and renewable energy adoption rates would go into effect Sept. 1, 2022, and the new energy efficiency and demand management rates would go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
By Jan. 1, a typical bill would increase 6.6% for residential customers, 9.3% for commercial customers and 9.0% for industrial customers (residential customer rates would go up 7.9% as of Sept. 1 to adjust for fuel and renewable energy programs, then decline 1.2% on Jan. 1 when energy efficiency and demand management adjustments kick in). The total monthly impact of all rate changes for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would be an increase of $6.94, from $105.34 to $112.28.
What's driving the proposed increase
Rising energy demand as North Carolina emerged from the 2020 COVID-19 shutdowns resulted in a significant increase in fuel needs for power generation, compounded by fuel commodity prices climbing drastically in 2021 due to tight supplies.
The sharp increase in commodity prices contributed to a $245 million under-recovery across the prior year, when fuel prices climbed sharply right after the company’s annual filing. The North Carolina fuel clause does not allow utilities to adjust rates during the billing period to prevent such customer underpayment, so the proposed rates include recovery of this shortfall.
Duke Energy Carolinas serves about 2 million households and businesses in central and western North Carolina, including Charlotte, Durham and the Triad. The company's other North Carolina utility – Duke Energy Progress – will make its annual fuel filing in June.
Helping customers save
Duke Energy works to actively manage its fuel contracts to keep fuel costs as low as possible for customers. Savings achieved from the joint dispatch of Duke Energy’s generation fleet in the Carolinas also help to lower the company’s fuel costs.
Duke Energy offers energy-saving tips and innovative efficiency programs for every budget to help customers take control of their energy use. For example, the Home Energy House Call is a free in-home energy assessment that provides customers more information about how they use energy and strategies to save money on their monthly bill. To learn more about these programs, visit duke-energy.com/savings.
Customers struggling to pay their energy bills can seek assistance through the Share the Light Fund, a Duke Energy program that provides assistance to vulnerable customers. Duke Energy is also currently leading a Low Income Affordability Collaborative pursuant to an NCUC order, working with a diverse group of stakeholders to develop new options to ensure equitable, affordable energy for those most in need.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities. The company has goals of at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation and net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050 from its electric and natural gas businesses, including Scopes 1, 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Media contact: Bill Norton