Duke Energy Carolinas requests rate hike to build a cleaner energy future

Jan. 24—CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy Carolinas asked North Carolina regulators on Jan. 19 to review its rates as the company continues to strengthen the electricity grid to improve reliability for customers and facilitate a cleaner, more secure energy future in a manner that supports economic development across the state, according to a prepared statement to media outlets.

The company has proposed a gradual rate increase over three years. If approved by the NCUC, the net increase in retail revenues in year one is about $501 million or 9.5%, followed by $172 million (3.3%) in year two and $150 million (2.9%) in year three — a total 15.7% increase by 2026.

According to the Duke Energy statement, the rate case includes a three-year plan to fund system improvements, including nearly $4.2 billion in future grid infrastructure upgrades to increase reliability and enhance grid security while enabling renewables, EVs, and supporting economic development and new jobs.

Duke Energy is evaluating ways to leverage the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help offset these investments and save money for customers, according to Duke Energy.

"Our customers expect us to deliver reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy every day," said Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "We're very mindful of the financial pressures our customers face. Our rates are well below the national average, and we remain committed to keeping rates as low as possible."

Duke Energy Carolinas serves about 2 million households and businesses in the region. This is the first rate case the utility has initiated since 2019.

Since its previous rate case, Duke Energy Carolinas has driven out more than $140 million in annual operating costs (2018 to 2021) to relieve pressure on customer rates. Those savings will be passed on to customers in this case.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, the monthly impact for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would be an increase of $12.54, from $115.01 to $127.55 per month, followed by a $3.90 increase in January 2025 and a $3.18 increase in January 2026. If approved, the $134.63 total would remain far below the current national average of $161.81 (Edison Electric Institute Summer 2022 Rates Report).

Customers struggling to pay their electric bills might qualify for a new Customer Assistance Program proposed as part of the rate case. If approved, it would reduce monthly bills for the company's most vulnerable customers by $42 per month.

Duke Energy Carolinas has also proposed new energy efficiency programs available to all residential customers, with potential savings that could significantly offset the proposed rate increase, and new time-of-use rates to help customers take more control over their energy bill.

To learn more about these programs, details of the company's proposal and the rate review process, visit duke-energy.com/DECNCRates.