Raleigh, NC-- North Carolina's top cop has jumped into the ring for consumers over Duke Energy's request for rate increase.
"Now is not the time to ask North Carolina consumers to pay significantly more for electricity", Attorney General Roy Cooper said Thursday.
Cooper opposes Duke Energy's proposal to raise the rates it charges its customers for power.
Cooper's Consumer Protection Division has intervened in the rate case and plans to participate in a hearing scheduled for November 28 at 1:00 PM before the North Carolina Utilities Commission in Raleigh.
The public hearing will include testimony and cross-examination of witnesses for Duke Energy, the Public Staff of the Utilities Commission, and others.
"There's never a good time to see your utility bill go up, but a sharp increase right now would really make it hard for many North Carolina families to make ends meet," Cooper said.
Earlier this year, Duke Energy applied to the Utilities Commission to request that the company be allowed to increase its revenues by approximately $646 million. That earnings increase would be passed along to consumers in the form of higher electricity bills.
If approved by the Utilities Commission, the proposed rate hike would raise the average Duke customer's monthly bill by approximately 17 percent.
Dozens of North Carolinians have written to Cooper, expressing their concerns about having to pay higher costs for electricity.
"We are in a recession," wrote an elderly woman from Eden, one of 280 people to write the Attorney General about the proposed rate hike. "We don't need to bail these people out on the seniors backs".
The Attorney General's Office has filed copies of the letters with the Clerk for the Utilities Commission so that commissioners will be aware of consumers' views on the proposed increase.
WFMY News 2 has been covering this story since Duke Energy started the public hearings on the rate request. It will be the largest increase in the company's history, if the request is granted.
"I would urge the Utilities Commission and Duke Energy to listen to consumers and treat them fairly," Cooper said.
NC Attorney General's Office