Costs rise for Duke Energy and possibly customers; state AG figh - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Costs rise for Duke Energy and possibly customers; state AG fights rate hike

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The state attorney general is fighting a rate hike for Duke Energy customers.

Roy Cooper says the increase is illegal.

He filed a brief asking the state supreme court to intervene once again.

The court struck down the rate hike last year. Then, the state utilities commission approved another request to raise rates by the same amount.

The proposed rate hike would increase utility bills 7.2%

And Duke is still working to clean up the coal ash that spilled into the Dan River back in February, costing it $15 million as of March 31st.  Even so, Duke has said the spill won't have a significant impact on its earnings.

A $15 million price tag to clean up tons of toxic coal ash spilled into the Dan River sounds like a lot.

But Duke Energy can certainly afford it.

The company earned $2.7 billion in 2013.

Duke says it still plans to ask the North Carolina Utilities Commission for permission to pass other costs associated with its ash along to customers, though.

While Duke has said it will pick up the total tab associated with its latest spill, the utility does not want to pay to close its 33 ash basins across the state.

Duke has been receiving an increasing amount of pressure to do so. Legislators will talk next month about the possibility of tightening laws surrounding coal ash.

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