Duke Energy Carolinas Reaches Partial Agreement with North Carolina Public Staff

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Duke Energy Carolinas Reaches Partial Agreement with North Carolina Public Staff

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK ) Carolinas and the North Carolina Public Staff have reached partial settlements on various items associated with investments included in the utility's request, along with implementation of new regulatory mechanisms.

The partial settlements include agreement on many aspects of the company's proposed revenue requirement in the case, such as capital projects, grid enhancements and related costs to be included in the three-year rate plan; cost recovery of plant-related investments to improve reliability; coal plant retirement dates to be used for depreciation rates; and Performance Incentive Mechanisms that hold Duke Energy accountable for outcomes that help customers and achieve state policy goals.

Grid investments benefiting customers include pole and line upgrades, targeted undergrounding of outage-prone lines, and the installation of smart, self-healing technology that enables faster power restoration.

"Similar to our case at Duke Energy Progress, we are pleased to achieve common ground with the Public Staff on a number of key issues and reach an agreement that prioritizes the needs of our customers, advances grid reliability and resiliency across the state, and maintains the financial health of the company," said Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy's North Carolina president.

The agreement would also reduce retail customer costs associated with the Duke Energy Plaza. The company's new headquarters are facilitating a major real estate consolidation in uptown Charlotte, reducing the company's footprint by more than 50% to save customers about $5 million annually, which is on top of the proposed savings in this settlement.

The partial settlements were filed Tuesday with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) and can be found here and here. If approved by the NCUC, the agreements would reduce the requested customer rate increase across the three-year rate period by approximately $158 million.

Matters not resolved by the partial settlements include return on equity, capital structure and recovery of costs associated with serving the company's customers during the COVID pandemic. Those items will be considered along with testimony submitted by the company, other participating parties and the public during an evidentiary hearing in Raleigh beginning on Aug. 28. The NCUC will make its final decision on the company's rate request and proposed partial settlement later this year.

Duke Energy Carolinas serves about 2 million households and businesses in central and western North Carolina, including Charlotte, Durham and the Triad.

Aug. 18 NCUC order concludes Duke Energy Progress rate review

After a similar evidentiary hearing for the parallel Duke Energy Progress rate review, the NCUC issued its order on Friday afternoon to conclude that case. A full analysis of customer bill impacts will be filed with the NCUC in the coming weeks, and the company's statement on Friday's order can be found here.

Duke Energy Progress serves about 1.7 million customers in central and eastern North Carolina and in the Asheville region.

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