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Duke Energy asks to raise rates

Duke Energy Carolinas today said it has requested approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to increase electric rates. When factoring in the company’s residential and commercial customers, it would mean an increase of about 15 percent.

The Charlotte-based company said it wants to increase rates by approximately $646 million, adding that the need to pay for capital investments made in the Carolinas’ electric system over the past two years is largely the reason for the increase. The majority of the increase would pay Duke back for what it has spent to retire and replace aging power plants and equipment to comply with state and federal environmental regulations.

“Since 2009, we’ve spent $4.8 billion to modernize the system and comply with environmental regulations,” Brett Carter, president of Duke Energy North Carolina, said in a statement.

Under the plan, the average increase would be:

• 17 percent for residential customers;

• 14 percent for commercial customers;

• 14 percent for industrial customers; and

• 8 percent for lighting customers.

If approved, the rates would take effect in February.

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