DURHAM: Group to protest Duke Energy rates, pay-in-person fees - WNCN: News, Weather

Group to protest Duke Energy rates, pay-in-person fees

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DURHAM, N.C. -

Activists will hold a rally Friday to call on Duke Energy to stop making people pay a fee if they pay their electric bills in person.

The Triangle Duke Energy Action group plans to gather at a check cashing business in Durham to protest what they say are high rates. Last year, Duke Energy increased its rates 7 percent.

The group will also be protesting what they say are high cut-off penalties and fees to pay in person, which the fee to pay in person is $2.

"We are glad that people are able to pay their bills in person. But those fees should come out of Duke Energy's corporate profits, not the pockets of captured ratepayers of North Carolina," says Nick Wood, NC WARN.

Duke Energy says their merger with Progress Energy will save ratepayers money.

"We guaranteed $687 million through the first five to six years post-merger, and we've already achieved $185 million through the first 18 months," says Mike Hughes, Duke Energy.

The company says the merger was intended to pay for the high costs of updating old power plants with new cleaner energy. But critics are asking, "Where are the savings?"

"Duke has gone up in rates increases in '09, '11 and then last year. Progress had their first rate case they had in over 20 years, so the rates are going up," says John Runkle, NC WARN.

NC WARN said in court, they want the power company to pay $27 million a year for a decade to help low-income residents.

But Duke Energy is still reeling from the coal ash spill from earlier this month in the Dane River. Protestors in Charlotte are calling on Duke Energy to clean up the toxic mess.

Clean water advocates presented the company with more than 9,000 petitions, demanding that Duke Energy take full responsibility for the cost of cleaning up the spill. Duke Energy says customers will not have to pay for the coal ash cleanup.

Friday's protest is at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Raleigh-Durham Check Cashers on Roxboro Road in Durham.

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