Duke Energy Attorney Says Eat 'One Less Big Mac' to Cover Rate Hike

Duke Energy customers are facing one of the biggest rate hikes in history and customers have been vocal about their objection. The company is scrambling to convince regulators that this hike won't be a financial hardship on any of the millions of customers who use Duke Energy daily.

What is the best way to describe how much the hike will be to people? Customers should just not buy "one extra Big Mac, fries and a drink" a month, says Duke Energy General Counsel Bo Somers during their North Carolina Utilities Commission hearing.

The increase in charge will be across the board with customers and is not based on electricity used. Instead, it will be part of a base service charge.

Duke Energy is working to increase the $11.80/month charge to $17.79 a month, an increase of $5.99 for residential customers.

While the charge is equal to about "a Big Mac meal," the outcry in historic rate hike also comes from the recent news that CEO Lynn Good's 2017 pay came in at $21.4 million. In 2015, she made $10.8 million. 

That's not the only price hike Duke Energy is seeking. They want to add an additional $13 billion from tack-on bill riders, which would fund about a decade's worth of upgrades to the power grid and to bury lines. This rider would come as a monthly charge beginning around 72 cents a month and ending around $5 a month by 2021. The company is also seeking to have customers pay for the coal ash cleanup costs from a company spill into the Dan River four years ago.

Duke Energy made $3 billion in profits in 2017. 

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