To the Editor:
At the July meeting of the Jackson County Democratic Party Executive Committee, the executive committee voted to officially oppose the proposal of Duke Energy of the Carolinas to seek a rate increase for its electricity consumers in North Carolina.
We recognize the importance of an adequate and reliable supply of electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, however, given the economic conditions that are present in Jackson County and most of North Carolina, we do not believe that this an appropriate time to increase consumer’s rates. It is our understanding that Duke has proposed that the average increase would be approximately 17 percent for residential, 14 percent for general services and industrial, and 8 percent for outdoor lighting. For low-income families and struggling small businesses, even a minimal increases would prove to be devastating, which Duke is already aware of and has publicly acknowledged.
It is our belief that Duke Energy should do more to utilize its current profit margin to help mitigate the costs of these capital improvements.
Many of the improvements have already started or even been completed and any additional revenue generated from a rate increase would only be used to replenish lost profits.
The Jackson County Democratic Party urges the North Carolina Utilities Commission to deny Duke’s request for a rate increase at this time, or at the very least reduce Duke Energy’s rate increase request to the lowest amount reasonable under applicable law, and have the rate increases to be spread out over time to minimize customer impact.
Brian McMahan, Chairman
Jackson County Democratic Party