Duke Energy can charge for coal-ash cost, with a penalty

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Duke Energy is denied passing full coal-ash cost to customers, but that doesn't mean you won't pay more.

In its nearly 300-page ruling, The North Carolina Utilities Commission denied Duke Energy Corp's request to charge customers the full cost of closing down its coal-ash waste pits. Instead, it allowed Duke to charge customers $232 million spread over five years.

Any other money for coal-ash cleanup would have to be approved later.

That move ended debate on one of the most contentious issues of the rate fight that lasted months and nine hearings.

Regulators also hit Duke with a $30 million penalty for mismanaging its coal-ash problems. Shareholders, not customers will have to pay that fine.

RELATED: See the NC Utilities Commission ruling (.pdf)

But what customers pay for power will climb.

The utilities commission approved less than half of the $478 million rate increase Duke asked for in June, which would've meant about a 15 percent hike in average bills.

Duke also won approval to increase the basic monthly charge it applies to our power bills - a 26 percent hike to $14. Duke wanted a 75 percent increase.

In a statement to ABC11, Duke Energy Progress said it's too early to tell exactly what the impact of the rate increase will be on the typical household. But, the company claims Duke's rate will remain below the national average once it goes into effect.

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