Could your energy bill be going up?


A hearing began Monday afternoon.

Despite protests and tearful pleas during a final public hearing last week, the commission will have the final say on a 5.7 percent rate hike for Progress Energy customers.

Progress reportedly wants to collect $183 million extra a year to pay for upgrades to the Shearon Harris power plant and three new natural gas plants.

A preliminary settlement would allow the hike to come in two waves -- a 4.7 percent jump the first year, and a one percent increase the second, which is less than the 11 percent Progress Energy originally proposed.

Progress was asking for an 11 percent hike.

Some progress customers said the rate would be devastating.

"The Progress Energy rate hike just takes too much of that away from seniors who need it to pay for gasoline, food, medicine and other needs," said AARP's Steve Hahn.

However, Progress Energy pointed out that along with the hike, they will have to set aside millions in assistance to those with low incomes.

There will be no decision on the rate hike Monday. Hearings are scheduled for most of the week.

If approved, the new rates would go into effect in June.

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