Duke Customers Will Now Save Over $1.1 Billion In New Coal Ash Settlement

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NC Attorney General Josh Stein just announced a new agreement with Duke Energy to not charge customers over $1 billion worth of coal ash cleanup costs from last year’s historic settlement.

“Today’s settlement is a win for every Duke Energy customer,” Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement. “I have long held that North Carolinians should not bear the full cost of cleaning up coal ash. As a result of today’s settlement, we won’t — to the tune of more than $1 billion.”

Last year, Duke Energy conceded a long-fought court battle, agreeing to the largest environmental cleanup in the history of the United States. They agreed to excavate over 76 million tons of coal ash from open and unlined dump sites at 6 facilities (enough to fill over 30,000 Olympic sized swimming pools), as well as an additional 3 million tons of non-impoundment coal ash, moving all of the coal ash into on-site lined landfills, and install a myriad of protective measures at the sites. Last year, they said that most of the cost of the cleanup would be passed onto their customers through rate increases.

This week’s settlement is now expected to save Duke customers $1.1 billion between now and 2030.

    • In the 2019 rate case, Duke Energy will write off more than $485 million in coal ash costs for retail customers.
    • In future rate cases, Duke Energy will write off more than $270 million in additional coal ash costs for retail customers.
    • Duke Energy will also reduce its return on equity for cleanup costs, resulting in additional savings for retail customers of tens of millions of dollars.
    • In addition to the new savings for ratepayers shown above, the parties have asked the Utilities Commission to keep in place the $100 million penalty that it ordered in 2017.

“Today’s settlement shows that sustained and determined grassroots and legal pressure can move even a monopoly corporation to do the right thing,” said Dave Rogers, Southeast deputy regional campaign director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “This agreement means Duke will pay for a portion of the coal ash clean up, lifting a burden of more than $1 billion off of families and businesses who would have otherwise been forced to pay. Now, all that’s left is for Duke to retire its remaining coal-burning plants and help communities transition to the clean energy future they demand and deserve.”

What do you think about the decision? 

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