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State Government
Duke Energy Requests Average 6% Rate Increase PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 10:59
Duke Energy Carolinas asked North Carolina regulators for an overall average rate increase across all customer groups of 6.0%. The company’s request has been reduced by customer savings of 3.2% resulting from federal and state tax reform.
“Duke Energy is committed to a smarter, cleaner energy future for North Carolina,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We have significantly reduced our carbon footprint and have proposed additional steps to further transition to cleaner energy sources. We are also modernizing the electric grid to improve reliability, help avoid power outages and speed restoration when outages do occur.”
A 6% increase would increase increase annual revenues by about $291 million, 
The specific increase for individual customer groups would vary, depending on the rate they pay. The average rate increase from the proposed changes for residential customers would be 6.7%, while commercial and industrial customers would see an average increase of 5.0%.
If the proposal is approved by state regulators, a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity monthly would pay about $116.26 per month, reflecting an increase of $8.06 per month, on average.
The NCUC will ultimately set new customer rates after conducting a review process that includes multiple opportunities for public comment and a determination of whether the company’s investments were prudent and in customers’ best interest.
The rate increase would cover costs Duke Energy has incurred on behalf of customers to shift to cleaner energy, improve reliability and grid resiliency and provide more convenience for customers.
Shifting to cleaner energy
Duke Energy Carolinas is proposing to shorten the remaining depreciable lives of several coal-fired power plants as it transitions to cleaner energy sources, including more carbon-free renewables and highly efficient natural gas.
The company is responsibly managing coal ash and safely closing ash basins at operating and retired coal plant sites in the Carolinas. Federal and state regulatory compliance costs incurred since 2017 to safely close ash basins at seven sites in the Carolinas are included in the proposal.
The company is building a smart-thinking grid that will support the growth of solar power, battery storage, microgrids and electric vehicles – enabling cleaner energy options across the state.
Improving reliability and grid resiliency
Duke Energy is working to improve the grid, making it stronger and more resistant to power outages from severe weather and flooding, and better protected against physical and cyber threats.
Self-healing technology is helping to speed restoration by automatically detecting power outages and quickly rerouting power to customers. During Hurricane Florence in 2018, this technology helped to avoid more than 80,000 customer outages.
The rate request includes costs to rebuild the electric system and restore power after major storms in 2018. If Senate Bill 559 (currently under consideration by the N.C. General Assembly) becomes law, Duke Energy will seek to securitize these costs, providing savings to customers.
Providing customers more convenience
Duke Energy Carolinas recently completed its deployment of more than 2 million smart meters, providing customers enhanced usage data and usage alerts, improved outage detection and enabling new programs tailored to help customers make smarter energy choices and save money.
The company is proposing to eliminate individual credit and debit card fees for residential customers when paying bills.
Provisions for low-income customers
Today’s rate filing includes a number of proposals intended to reduce the impact of rising costs on low- and fixed-income customers. In addition to eliminating direct debit and credit card bill-paying fees for residential customers, the filing proposes no increase in the monthly basic service charge. In prior rate filings, the service charge has been the subject of concerns raised by customer advocates worried that increases in this charge posed disproportionate impacts on low- and fixed-income customers. 
The filing also requests that the NCUC convene a broad stakeholder workshop to evaluate additional regulatory programs and protections for low-income customers, ranging from efficiency programs to potential new tariffs and other initiatives.
“We know rising costs can be difficult for many customers, but particularly challenging for our customers on low and fixed incomes,” De May said. “We have heard the concerns and are working to minimize the impact of these important investments on our customers least able to accommodate rate increases. We look forward to the next steps in this process.”
Customers can visit duke-energy.com/home/savings for energy-saving tips and programs. The company also has programs to help customers with managing their bills. Learn more at duke-energy.com/home/billing/special-assistance.
Duke Energy Carolinas serves 2 million households and businesses in central and western North Carolina. Duke Energy Progress, which serves electric customers in parts of central and eastern North Carolina and in the Asheville region, will file a similar request to adjust rates in October.
For additional resources, visit duke-energy.com/DECNCRates.
NC Health And Human Services Investigating Legionnaires Outbreak PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 27 September 2019 09:49
FLETCHER — The Buncombe and Henderson County Health Departments, in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, are investigating multiple cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in individuals who attended the NC Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, NC, Sept. 6–15, 2019.
“We don’t yet know whether people might have been exposed to Legionella bacteria at the NC Mountain State Fair,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. “As a precaution, we are recommending that anyone who went to the fair and has symptoms of pneumonia, like cough, fever or shortness of breath, see a doctor right away and talk with them about Legionnaires’ disease.”
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia (lung infection). A person may develop Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in mist or accidentally swallow water into the lungs that contains Legionella bacteria. In North Carolina, more than 150 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year. Symptoms typically begin two to 10 days after exposure and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious illness but can be treated effectively with antibiotics. Legionella bacteria can also cause a milder flu-like illness called Pontiac fever, which resolves without treatment.
Most healthy people exposed to Legionella bacteria do not get sick. The people at highest risk for Legionnaires' disease include individuals 50 years or older, current or former smokers, and those who have a chronic lung disease or a weakened immune system. 
Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment. These bacteria can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made water systems like hot water tanks, cooling towers of air conditioning systems, decorative fountains and hot tubs or spas that are not properly maintained.
People who attended the NC Mountain State Fair and are experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath should call their health care provider right away.
For additional information or to report possible cases of Legionnaires’ disease, please call the Division of Public Health at (919) 733-3419 or contact your local health department. In Buncombe County, call (828) 250-5109. In Henderson County, call (828) 694-6019.
NC DHHS Provides Counseling to 200,000 Hurricane Victims Since September 2018 PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 26 September 2019 11:01

 The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced that over 200,000 people impacted by Hurricane Florence have been served through the Hope 4 NC behavioral health crisis counseling program since September 2018.

“Long after the hurricane passes and people rebuild their homes, recovery continues on as people cope with, and address, the internal pain and trauma caused by the storm,” said Kody H. Kinsley, DHHS Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. “We are committed to ensuring survivors fully recover both physically and mentally, while working to build lasting resiliency in their homes and communities.”
Hope 4 NC is supported by $17.6 million, which has been granted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This total includes a $12.2 million grant announced by Governor Roy Cooper in April 2019 to expand services following Hurricane Florence. 
Hope 4 NC helps people learn coping skills and strategies to reduce the trauma, loss and stress they experience from the storm and employs an on-the-ground approach to crisis counseling. Nearly 200 counselors throughout the most impacted regions provide door-to-door behavioral health outreach, meeting people where they are in the community.
The counselors help people complete risk assessments and connect them to longer term behavioral health support. Outreach and education are coordinated with community programs and partners such as child care organizations, schools, community centers, senior centers, first responders and faith and agricultural communities, among others. Counselors also are available to help with resource needs for special populations, such as children, people with disabilities, farmers and first responders.
“We need to focus on emotional recovery at the same time we rebuild our communities,” said Susan E. Robinson, Suicide Prevention and Crisis Counseling Coordinator for Hope 4 NC with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. “Our aim is for people to recover well emotionally, stay resilient and be prepared for future events.”
Those in need of assistance can call the Hope 4 NC Crisis Counseling Services Hotline at 1-855-587-3463 (FIND) anytime day or night. Trained Hope 4 NC staff are available 24/7 to listen and link survivors with counseling staff, who can visit in person or facilitate access to more intensive services as needed in their communities. For additional information about behavioral health after a hurricane, please visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/disaster-preparation-and-recovery/hurricane-dorian-recovery/behavioral-health-during-and. 
Cooper Signs Rural Infrastructure Bill PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 25 September 2019 15:34

Governor Cooper signed the following bill into law:

*     Senate Bill 691: Emergency Operating Funds for Utilities 

Gov. Cooper shared the following comment on Senate Bill 691:

"This bill helps a few rural communities that don't have the money to fix their broken water systems, but this is a problem all across the state. I urge the legislature to pass my InvestNC bond proposal to help more struggling communities build sustainable water systems."



Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2019 15:36

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