Duke Energy to discuss significant rate hike for customers in hearing

Duke Energy customers could face higher monthly payments depending on the outcome of a critical hearing scheduled for Monday.

Duke Energy officials said the company wants to raise rates for customers in the eastern part of the state by 13 percent, which means bills would increase from $11.13 per month to $14 per month.

Company officials also said it wants to charge customers nearly $200 million a year, in part to clean up coal ash pits.

Duke Energy officials added that it wants a separate 17 percent increase for customers in the western part of the state.

The hearing was supposed to happen last week, but was pushed back to Monday because negotiations were still being made.

Officials said the rate hike would affect about 1.3 million customers in eastern North Carolina, and some local groups told Channel 9 that they're worried about potential "backroom dealings" that went into the new settlement.

According to officials, about 50 witnesses will be interviewed during the hearing, which could last a week.

The new rate hikes won't take effect until the commission accepts them, officials said, and a similar rate case will be considered that includes customers in the Charlotte area in early 2018.

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