Duke Energy today outlined its proposal to pass along savings from the new federal tax law to its North Carolina customers in ways that will lower bills in the near term and help offset increases in the future.
Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) and Duke Energy Progress (DEP) offered the proposal in a filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) today. Duke Energy has maintained customers’ rates significantly below the national average for many decades while providing safe, reliable and increasingly clean energy for North Carolinians.
“This is a unique opportunity that allows us to reduce customer bills in the short term while also helping to offset future rate increases,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president.
“With a balanced approach, our customers can benefit from a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, while we continue to make smart investments on behalf of our customers.”
The company recommended several options that the NCUC could select to provide customers with near-term benefits, while minimizing volatity in customer bills.
Apply tax savings to offset a portion of the current rate request pending before the NCUC.
Avoid billing customers for storm-related and ongoing environmental compliance costs.
Accelerate the depreciation of assets, such as smart meters or coal plants, which would reduce future requests to include these investments in customer rates.
DEC proposes to incorporate these benefits into its current base rate case proceeding.
DEP recommends incorporating these benefits either through its next base rate case proceeding, or through an alternate cost recovery mechanism established during the current proceeding.
Given the NCUC needs to approve the timing and amount of any customer rate changes, it is premature to determine the exact impact on North Carolina customers’ energy bills.