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Coal ash is the waste that remains when coal is burned. It is usually collected in a dump, known as a pond. North Carolina has more than 30 such sites in 14 different locations across the state. A pipe running under one of the ponds run by Duke Energy in Eden NC ruptured in February of 2014. The coal ash spilled, largely affecting the Dan River which flows into Virginia. The spill is the third largest of its kind in U.S. history.Many see potential complications because North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory, worked for Duke Energy for 28 years.

NC Regulator: Can Duke Energy Charge All Coal Ash Costs?

Duke Energy's coal burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

Updated 3:55 p.m. | Nov. 27, 2017

The country's largest electric company says charging North Carolina consumers the full, multi-billion-dollar cost of cleaning up coal ash dumps is comparable to tire stores charging customers an extra fee to dispose of an old set of radials.

Duke Energy Progress President David Fountain said Monday the Duke Energy Corp. subsidiary is simply passing along clean-up costs that regulators have dictated.

He spoke at the opening day of hearings before the North Carolina Utilities Commission on whether the company can raise power rates by an average 9.5 percent. Duke Energy Progress wants to charge North Carolina consumers an extra $305 million a year.

The state's official utilities consumer advocate thinks the company shouldn't pass along nearly $200 million a year to clean up decades worth of potentially toxic coal ash.


Updated 12:45 p.m. | Nov. 27, 2017

Regulators are deciding whether to set a precedent and allow the country's largest electric company to charge North Carolina consumers the full, multi-billion-dollar cost of cleaning up coal ash dumps.The North Carolina Utilities Commission on Monday will open hearings with Duke Energy Corp. about who should pay the cost of dealing with the toxic byproducts of decades of burning coal for power.

The company and the state's official utilities consumer advocate last week struck a partial deal reducing the company's requested rate increase from almost 15 percent and its requested potential profit margin to below 10 percent.

Still unsettled is whether the Charlotte-based company can charge North Carolina consumers nearly $200 million a year for coal-ash cleanup and recover storm rebuilding costs from last year.

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