CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Behind closed doors, the nation’s largest electric company agreed to lower their proposed rate increase Monday.
In their original proposal, Duke Energy wanted to raise household rates 16.7 percent, which would have meant an extra $18 out of your wallet every month. But on Monday, Duke agreed to a 15.2 percent increase instead.
They also agreed to accept a 9.9 percent return on profit, down from their original request of 10.5 percent.
In previous statements, Duke Energy said a portion of the increase would be used for a number of upgrades, including updating power plants and making the grid safer from cyber attacks.
"We believe these investments are helping to shift our customers to a smarter energy future that we can all enjoy, that will move us away from older technologies and enable us to use energy in ways we haven’t been able to use before,” said Duke Energy Spokesperson Jeff Brooks.
But not agreed on Monday, was who should bear the costs of cleaning up the coal ash pits. Duke Energy argued since consumers use it, it should be them who pays.
"A typical residential family actually generates more than 150 pounds of coal ash every year from the electricity that they consume,” Brooks said.
But others argue it should be Duke who pays, accusing Duke Energy of improperly disposing of coal ash for years, making cleanup efforts that much more costly.
I’m a little concerned that too much of these costs are passed on to actual consumers rather than the company shareholders,” said Duke customer, John Terrando.
The public hearings between Duke Energy and the public staff of the North Carolina Utilities Commission are expected to continue Monday, November 27. The Utilities Commission will ultimately decide how much Duke Energy can charge.