Southport residents could soon see lower electric bills

Published: Apr. 2, 2015 at 7:29 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2015 at 3:29 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - Residents in Southport could soon see lower electric bills.

Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill Thursday that is expected to lower electric rates for residents in eastern North Carolina and attract new jobs to the region.

According to the governor's office, the new law will allow Duke Energy Progress to purchase generation assets from the 32 cities and towns that make up the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA), including Southport.

The $1.2 billion purchase will lower the agency's debt load from $1.9 billion to about $480 million, according to the governor's office.

"This purchase provides a private sector, market-driven solution to a major economic development obstacle we faced in eastern North Carolina," Governor McCrory said. "The lower electric rates this purchase should produce will save consumers money and make the region more attractive to job creators who want to take advantage of the region's talented workforce and special quality of life."

The governor's office said the new law allows NCEMPA members to issue bonds to refinance about $480 million of debt after the purchase is complete.

While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission all approve the purchase, the 32 cities and towns that make up the NCEMPA must also vote to approve the sale.

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