Raleigh, N.C., June 23, 2021 – Carolina Utility Customers Association (CUCA) has been actively engaged in stakeholder negotiations around important energy issues facing North Carolina. CUCA does not support House Bill 951 (HB 951) in its current form for the simple reason that it will increase industrial customer rates 50 percent over the next 10 years. CUCA believes that Duke Energy will be the only beneficiary of the legislation because construction of additional plants drives their earnings. Captive industrial customers will face higher rates and the legislation is not aimed at decarbonizing the grid.
CUCA’s estimates of industrial rate impacts are in line with those generated by the N.C. Utilities Commission Public Staff (45 percent rate increase in the next decade). CUCA factored in multi-year ratemaking, grid modernization, and other aspects of the bill the Public Staff did not address. In addition, the rate increase from HB 951 comes on top of the recent rate increase for cleaning up Duke Energy’s coal ash debacle.
“If you pick and choose only parts of the bill to include in a cost analysis it’s like buying a car with no wheels on it”, notes CUCA Executive Director Kevin Martin. “We expect the rate impacts to be even greater than that noted by the Public Staff.”
Energy market reform will lower costs and benefit North Carolina’s economy. North Carolina’s municipal electric systems have experience with wholesale electric competition, and they have benefitted from cost savings.
Kevin Martin comments, “North Carolina’s manufacturing base is the backbone of our state’s economy and manufacturers will be devastated by the rate increase from HB 951. In a global economy, these companies must compete and produce products at the lowest cost. If production costs are lower elsewhere, manufacturing may relocate facilities. Energy market reform is the best avenue forward as opposed to passing this cost-laden bill.”
About CUCA CUCA is a 501 C (6) non-profit trade association serving North Carolina industries and manufacturers. Since CUCA’s inception, our primary focus has been to secure reliable energy at the lowest possible rate for our members. We support flexible energy policies that help industries and manufacturers achieve their corporate goals. For more information, please visit https://cucainc.org/about-us/.