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Posted: 8:49 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Duke Energy asked the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Wednesday to lower rates for its customers because of savings related to the Duke-Progress merger. Duke told the commission it wants to pass along nearly $90 million in savings. But when you break the savings down, some customers told Eyewitness News it's not worth it. North Carolina customers will save about 92 cents a month. South Carolina customers will save 81 cents a month. Charlotte resident Donald Pillow said he pays about $110 a month for electricity. "Nintey-two cents? That's this soda right here. No, this soda is even more expensive than that. Ninety cents, that's not significant at all," Pillow said. Duke's merger with Progress Energy this year saved the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Utility commissioners said they expected Duke to lower customers' bills. This is the first step -- passing along $70 million in merger-related fuel savings and $19 million in power plant cost savings. The lower rates could take effect in September. Duke expects the savings to last three years. Many families told Eyewitness News that a rate cut is a lot better than a rate hike. "At least they have something to give back to their customers. I welcome their give-back policies," said Tushar Barot. When Eyewitness News asked Duke about the cut today, a spokesman said it isn't the only rate cut customers can expect. Duke has promised to deliver $650 million in savings to customers over the next five years. The NC Utilities Commission will have to approve the rate cut request before it takes effect. They haven't yet scheduled a hearing date, but the commissioners will meet again on Monday morning.Duke earnings released Duke Energy released its second quarter earnings on Thursday morning.The company reports it earned $444 million in the second quarter, which is up from $435 million the same time last year.The numbers do not include anything from Progress Energy since the merger happened after the end of the second quarter.Progress reports it made $64 million in the second quarter versus $178 million the same time last year.
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