In February, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (the “Commission”) issued its Order Accepting Stipulation, Deciding Contested Issues and Granting Partial Rate Increase in the Duke Energy Progress (“DEP”) rate case. One of the most contentious issues in the rate case was the extent to which DEP could pass coal ash cleanup costs on to rate payers. The Commission found DEP is entitled to recover coal ash basin costs, less a disallowance of $9.5 million, for a total amount of $232,390,000. The Commission also assessed a $30 million penalty for DEP’s mismanagement in handling coal ash.
Both the Attorney General and the Sierra Club filed appeals on April 25th challenging the Commission’s order as unreasonable, not prudent and not supported by the evidence. The Attorney General’s office contends that rate payers should not be responsible for the coal ash cleanup costs because DEP “knew of the risks of storing coal ash in unlined surface impoundments and failed to take timely and appropriate action to address those risks.”
The appeal is directly to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Briefs in the Duke Energy Carolinas rate case are due on April 27th. Coal ash is also a contentious issue in that rate case.