A watchdog group has filed a federal complaint against Duke Energy. NC Warn says the company is keeping rates artificially high by building power plants it doesn’t need.
Duke Energy is required to keep production capacity at 15 percent above the peak day of the year. NC Warn says the company regularly has double that amount of electricity on hand.
“We are asserting that Duke Energy and others are manipulating electricity markets by wasting billions of customer dollars and that those customers are being gouged in unwarranted rate increases because Duke and the others are protected monopolies,” Warren said during a conference call with reporters.
NC Warn contends that Duke Energy has a “build plants, raise rates” business model. Duke Energy is the largest utility company in the country.
“Duke and others across this region do wield undue influence over regulatory agencies and state government,” said Warren.
Duke Energy responded to the allegations with a prepared statement.
“NC WARN – the same organization that repeatedly has urged Duke Energy to close its coal plants – is now criticizing Duke Energy for building new, cleaner, natural gas-fired and solar power plants to replace the 35 coal-fired units that the company has closed since 2011,” said David Canzoni, a spokesman for Duke Energy, in the statement.
“In addition, the North Carolina Public Staff – which represents customers and the public – has repeatedly supported, as reasonable, Duke Energy’s investment in power plants and electricity reserves to meet customer needs at all times.”
The complaint was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. NC Warn is seeking FERC’s involvement to force regional cooperation between electricity providers. The group also advocates the use of renewable energy sources, in place of building large power plants.