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NC lawmakers want to study benefits, savings from overhauling electricity market

High-voltage power lines in northern Mecklenburg County.
David Boraks
Some lawmakers want North Carolina to study potential benefits of restructuring the state's electricity market.

A bill filed at the North Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday would pay for a study of electricity market reforms that backers say would reduce energy bills and prevent blackouts like those that struck Duke Energy customers last December.

Republican Rep. Larry Strickland, of Johnston County, is the lead sponsor of House Bill 503. The bill would allocate $500,000 for a study by the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill and outside consultants.

The study would look at the potential benefits of reforms such as forming a new regional transmission organization (RTO) with South Carolina, or joining an existing one. An RTO is an independent group that coordinates, controls and monitors an electric grid over multiple states.

A report would be due to the General Assembly in 2025. A similar report for South Carolina lawmakers this month said consumers there could save up to $362 million a year with electricity market changes — and that reforms would work best if North Carolina was also part of the restructuring.

A consultant in 2019 told North Carolina lawmakers a restructuring could save ratepayers here up to $600 million a year.

The bill's co-sponsors are Reps. Ed Goodwin (R-Chowan County), Kyle Hall (R-Stokes County) and John Torbett (R-Gaston County). A similar billwas filed in 2021, but never got out of committee.

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.
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