Duke Energy customers may pay for coal ash cleanup

by: Tina Terry Updated:


CHARLOTTE - Duke Energy customers told Eyewitness News that they're opposed to paying for Duke Energy's cleanup at coal ash ponds throughout the state.

Barbara Morales lives right across the street from the GG Allen Power Plant in Belmont.  For years she's been concerned about the possibility of coal ash contamination spilling into the Catawba River or seeping into her well water.

"I've been worried about that," said Morales.

Last month, we told you Gov. Pat McCrory demanded Duke move coal ash away from water supplies, and this week a judge ruled the company must take immediate action to eliminate sources of groundwater contamination at coal ash sites.

Friday, Eyewitness News asked whether rate payers would pick up that cost. Duke's CEO said it's an option.  

We were told to look back at a recent corporate earnings report. In it, the CFO said Duke will pay billions to comply with environmental regulations over the next 10 years.

The CFO said the Carolinas has a strong record of allowing utility companies to recover those costs by passing it along to customers in the form of higher rates.

Morales hates the idea.

“I think it’s wrong,” she said.

A spokesman for the environmental group Appalachian Voice agrees.

“We’re advocating very strongly that Duke Energy pay for its own mess, and that we not be required to pay for their mess.”