Utilities

Weather
10:50 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Power Companies Are Bracing For Ice, Outages

Ice is expected to cover most of North Carolina this week, which means power outages are likely.
Credit David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

While the state transportation department is already out salting roads, utility companies are closely monitoring the weather forecast today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Ellis said light snow is likely this afternoon, getting heavy tomorrow into Thursday. By tomorrow afternoon, he said, ice will coat much of the state.

Jane Pritchard is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. She said it would take a heavy snowfall to mess with power lines, but just a half-inch of ice can do a lot of damage.

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Business & Economy
8:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

NC GreenPower Celebrates 10 Years Of Increasing Access To Renewable Energy

Over the past 10 years, NC Green Power has used donations to increase the amount of renewable energy in the state's power grid.
Credit NCSU/CSE

Renewable energy generators have channeled hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours into the North Carolina power grid. That's since the NC GreenPower program was founded 10 years ago.

The initiative collects donations from companies, citizens and utility customers to buy renewable energy and diversify the state's power grid.

NC Solar Center Director Steve Kalland is on the board for NC GreenPower. He said the program has also helped utilities warm up to renewable power providers. 

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Science & Technology
5:00 am
Mon November 25, 2013

"Solarize Raleigh" Could Make Solar Power More Affordable

Credit Marc Hall / North Carolina State University

Raleigh might soon have a group-purchasing program that would make it cheaper for residents to install solar panels on their homes. North Carolina Solar Center Director Steve Kalland  says solar power is popular among state utilities. They save money buying the costly technology in bulk. Kalland says homeowners are also interested in using cheaper, greener energy.

"The opportunity to do this has been somewhat constrained in North Carolina because the cost of these smaller-scale projects is somewhat higher than the large-scale projects," Kalland says.

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Politics & Government
9:34 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Water Companies Push To Eliminate Some Public Hearings In Rate Cases

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The state Utilities Commission is considering a proposal that would allow private water companies to raise rates in some cases without public hearings. 

Under the new rule, utilities could implement rate hikes several times a year without public input, as long as they do not amount to an increase of more than 5 percent. 

State lawmakers passed the new rule without opposition last session, but the Utilities Commission has to decide if it's in the public's interest before it goes into effect. 

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Business & Economy
5:50 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Aqua NC To File For Another Rate Increase

Aqua NC will file for its 3rd rate increase in 5 years.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The private water utility Aqua North Carolina says it plans to file for its third rate increase in five years.  The company notified the state Utilities Commission last week that it will file a formal request in August.  It's not yet clear how much Aqua will ask to raise its rates.  The company last requested an increase of 19 percent in 2011, and the Utilities Commission approved an increase of about 5 percent.

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Politics & Government
3:15 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

House Lawmakers Pass Controversial Development Bill

NC House chambers
Credit NCGA

Lawmakers in the state House have passed a controversial bill that would extend water and sewer lines to a mixed-use development outside Durham city limits. The Durham city council recently voted against providing services to the 167 acre 751 project. But its developers have lobbied state legislators to get access, saying the plan will bring jobs to the area. Republican representative Tim Moore says he believes in the spirit of the planned development.

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Science & Technology
7:42 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Cary Introduces Virtual Water Meter

Customers of Cary's public water utility can now monitor how many gallons they use on an hourly basis.  The town invested $172,553 in a system that updates water usage online.  Cary Financial Director Karen Mills says the new system is meant to make customers more aware of how much water they're using or wasting.

"They can see what's going on with their usage, understanding, for example, their irrigation usage if they have an automated system; when it's running, how long it's running," Mills says.

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Business & Economy
8:14 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Progress Reaches Tentative Deal To Cut Rate Hikes

Progress Energy has reached a tentative deal with the Public Staff on the state Utilities Commission to reduce its request for a rate increase.  The agreement allows a 4.7 percent increase in June, then raises that to 5.7 percent next year.  Progress filed for an 11 percent increase in October.  Public Staff executive director Robert Gruber says it's a fair deal.

"What do they actually need in order to be able to operate reliably and attract investors?  You have to compromise that need with the impact on consumers," Gruber says.

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Business & Economy
6:10 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Power Companies Won't Meet Pig Poop Electricity Mandate

Farmer Loyd Bryant (left) with developers Tanja Vujic and Marvin Cavanaugh next to a microtubine that's generating electricity from swine waste
Asma Khalid

Back in 2007, North Carolina passed the first renewable energy mandate in the Southeast. The new rules say that by the end of this year at least three percent of all electricity needs to come from green sources. The power companies say they'll easily meet that, but they're going to come up short on two fronts. The law includes a provision for electricity from poultry waste and hog manure. The utilities say they can't meet either one of those terms.

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Environment
2:10 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Dare County Residents Asked to Conserve Power

Dare County officials are asking residents to conserve power as utilities set up emergency generators on Hatteras Island. Parts of the main highway on the Outer Banks were washed away in four spots near Rodanthe. That left residents who waited out the storm stranded on Hatteras Island. Dare County spokeswoman Cathryn Bryan says emergency crews are taking bare essentials to the hardest hit areas.

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