RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Your Duke Energy power bill could soon see a big increase.
On Tuesday night, members of the public got a chance in Raleigh to speak out about that potential increase to their energy bills.
It was one of four in-person public hearings held by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
Duke Energy has asked state regulators to let it raise rates by more than 16% in the coming months.
The energy giant said the increase is needed not only to recover fuel costs, which have soared from natural gas prices last year but also to help build a more reliable and resilient grid.
The people in attendance hope the Utilities Commission doesn't allow the rate hike.
"I have experienced financial hardships that have prevented me from being able to afford an increase for my electric bill," said William Terry, of Raleigh.
Jennifer Eison, of Garner, added: "The rate hike Duke is proposing for the next three years is both unnecessary and harmful to the people of North Carolina. We deserve a transition to clean energy today, and we deserve an energy company that isn't a monopoly over our state."
Duke Energy said the average electric bill would go up an average of $15 a year in the first year, then $5 the next two years after that.
"If we can do this in a way that says we don't have to come back in for those three years, we can do this over a three-year increment, then customers know what to expect and they won't have a surprise in the next year or two," said Jeff Brooks, spokesman for Duke Energy.
There are several more public hearings, including one that will be held virtually.
Duke Energy will present its case to the Utilities Commission in early May.