An overflow crowd packed into Mecklenburg County Courthouse to protest Duke Energy.
The State Utilities Commission listened to complaints about Duke's environmental impact and its rate-hike request.
Protesters came from all over the state to have their voices heard. There were so many people that many weren't allowed inside, where the hearing was held, because it was at capacity before the meeting started.
The people who showed up Thursday were disputing Duke's future plans. They're upset that Duke has said only a small portion of its energy will come from renewable sources.
"No. We will not accept a plan that invests in dirty, expensive and outdated energy sources," said Monica Embrey with Greenpeace.
A Duke spokesman said they too want clean, efficient energy.
"The challenge that we face is that as an electric utility we're also mandated to provide reliable power at a reasonable cost to our customers. So we have to balance those interests with the costs impact to our customers," said spokesman Jeff Brooks.
Environmental and consumer costs were a hot button issue.
Duke recently proposed double digit future rate hikes that the Utility Commission is reviewing. "It's going to affect residential customers more than they do business and industrial customers. So it really is being put on the family's pocket books," said activist Grant Mincy.
Duke says they know there's never a good time for a rate hike, but they say they need the money for investments and reducing emissions.
No decisions were made at the public hearing. The Utilities Commission will need to schedule public hearings on the rate hike request before they vote on it.
Duke wants to raise residential rates more than 10 percent, which would cost the average customer $14 more per month.