|Duke Energy dug up toxic coal residue from a spill from its|
Dan Rivervpower plant in Eden, N.C.(Associated Press photo)
The request for the rate increase from Duke Energy Progress was filed in June and is the first time Duke has tried to get North Carolina consumers to pay for part of the estimated $5.1 billion it will cost to clean up the waste there and in South Carolina. The increase would generate an extra $477 million per year. "The bulk of that would cover ongoing costs of replacing coal-burning plants with natural gas and storm repairs," reports Dalesio. "But it also includes $66 million already spent to deal with coal ash, and $129 million more in future clean-up costs." Duke Energy Carolinas is the holding company's other North Carolina subsidiary, and will likely request a similar rate increase for its 2.5 million customers in coming months.
Duke produces an average of 150 pounds of coal ash a year per household, but says it is disposing of it appropriately and coal-ash storage basins are not allowing toxic chemicals to seep into the surrounding groundwater, and that cleaning up the coal ash is a routine expense.