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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dozens of protesters gathered in uptown where the state Utilities Commission Board heard testimony about Duke Energy's plans for the next 20 years.

I would like to see more investment in energy efficiency and energy conservation, said Grant Mincy from the group called Clean Water for North Carolina .

Mincy and others were planning to speak to the Commissioners who were meeting at the Mecklenburg County courthouse.

Speaker after speaker urged Duke Energy to move away from coal plants and nuclear power to renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Bill Gupton is with a group called Consumers Against Rate Hikes .

Gupton said, the cost of solar has been dropping so dramatically that there is a huge potential for solar in North Carolina.

A Duke spokesperson, Jeff Brooks said, we're looking at balancing the concerns of groups like these that are talking about environmental and renewable concerns with the cost impact to our customers.

Brooks said the company's 20 year plan is always subject to change.

One of the differences between our groups is that we have the responsibility to provide reliable service at an affordable rate to 3.5 million homes and businesses every day,' said Brooks.

The youngest of the speakers, 9-year-old Abigail Hamm pleaded with Duke to provide power but at the same time, keep it safe.

I want my future to be great and coal is not helping that. It's time to quit coal, she said.

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