Duke to Postpone Duke Carolinas Rate Filing to First Quarter

Duke Energy Corp. is postponing seeking a rate increase for its Duke Energy Carolinas utility in North Carolina, its largest market, until the first quarter next year.

Duke, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, had planned to file the request with the state’s utilities commission by the end of the year. Earlier this month, Duke’s Progress Energy Carolinas utility filed a request for its first general rate increase since 1987, asking regulators to boost revenues by about $387 million a year.

The “sheer workload” involved in handling two rate cases at once, for both the company and regulators, made the delay “prudent,” Mike Hughes, a Duke spokesman, said in a telephone interview today.

Duke told the North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff that it intends to file the second rate case around the first of February, Robert Gruber, executive director of the agency that represents the state’s consumers, said in a telephone interview.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission and the state’s attorney general also are investigating a boardroom coup at Duke that led the largest utility-owner in the U.S. to switch chief executive officers hours after buying North Carolina-based Progress Energy Inc. in July.

Duke Energy Carolinas sells power to 1.9 million homes and businesses in North Carolina. Progress Energy Carolinas sells power to about 1.3 million, according to the company website.

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