Lynn Good

coal ash
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The Department of Environmental Quality has made significant changes to how Duke Energy may have to handle coal ash at its basins across the state.

DEQ released a final report that ranks all the state’s 33 coal ash basins by threat level. Unlike its previous draft report released last December, this one classifies all of the basins as either high or intermediate risk.

Duke Energy
Duke Energy

Duke Energy has announced it will buy Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion dollars in cash.

Piedmont Natural Gas serves customers in almost every area of the state, outside the Triangle. Both companies are headquartered in Charlotte.

“This transaction consolidates our critical natural gas and power infrastructure into one company to greatly enhance customer service, safety, integrity, and reliability,” said Piedmont CEO Tom Skaines in a conference call.

Gasoline prices at the Carrboro Food Mart gas station in April 2013
Laura Candler

Gasoline and natural gas have hit record-low prices in the last few months. It was hailed as overwhelmingly good news for consumers and the economy.

But the price you pay at the pump may not be the real cost.

“So the real cost of that gallon of gas is the price you pay at the pump plus about four dollars,” says Drew Shindell, a professor of climate change at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Shindell wrote a paper that calculates the “social cost” of energy, or the total cost to society.