Energy Justice Coalition NC launches its campaign to end the Duke monopoly.

Alliance for Energy Democracy (AED) joins 14 other local, regional, state and national groups to bring energy democracy to North Carolina. The campaign was launched in Raleigh today, Wednesday February 13th, with a press conference and delivery of a letter to Governor Cooper, Legislative leaders Senator Berger, and Representative Tom Moore calling on them to publicly pledge to stop taking Duke’s campaign contributions and beginning a public process to open North Carolina to energy choice and competitionLearn more about our campaign here.

After over 2 years of work, AED’s transformational vision has come to fruition in a broad coalition dedicated to the values of economic, environmental, and intergenerational justice for all residents of North Carolina.

North Carolina adopted the current Public Utilities Act (Chapter 62) governing the regulation of public utilities in 1963, 55 years ago, when the effects of a fossil fuel based energy economy were unknown and now include, but are not limited to, global climate change, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, ecological disruptions, social collapse and mass extinctions with the possibility that the human species may be unable to survive the consequent changes in a rapidly heating world.

The investor owned monopolies that are regulated under this Act show no voluntary interest in reducing carbon dioxide and natural gas emissions at the rate required by a global consensus of scientists and continue to propose totally inadequate plans for a 21st Century energy economy as evidenced by the morally corrupt IRP (Integrated Resource Plan) that Duke has submitted to the NC Utilities Commission this month, limiting renewable energy generation to only 8% of Duke’s generation over the next 15 years, while climate scientists are convinced that we need a 100% renewable energy system by 2030. Read a great summary of Duke’s morally bankrupt approach to its responsibility to North Carolinians on NCWARN’s website (a coalition partner) here.

Below is a bulleted summary of the disastrous system we are now bound to as energy slaves:

  • In North Carolina, the majority of retail electric service is provided by three investor-owned public utilities (IOUs) — Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Carolinas, and Virginia Electric and Power Company (a subsidiary of Dominion North Carolina Power), each of which, along with the state’s rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities, enjoy monopoly control over the sale of electricity within their defined service areas; and,
  • The customers of monopoly electric utilities are captive, meaning they are forced to purchase electricity from the utility that serves the territory in which the customers live and do not have a meaningful choice concerning the source of their electricity; and,
  • The electric utilities are legally protected from competition and effectively immune to pressure from their customers to provide clean electricity at reasonable prices; and,
  • Duke Energy’s ongoing investments in generation and related infrastructure has led to ever-increasing rates and costs for captive customers; and,
  • The predominant utility, Duke Energy, is seeking approval for a new, controversial plan to spend as much as $13 billion in transmission and distribution additions and “improvements” over the next ten years, which will lead to ongoing rate increases; and,
  • North Carolina has historically been a leading state in solar energy installations, yet the large majority of this generation is utility-scale solar, which is controlled by Duke Energy, with relatively little being invested by families and businesses; and
  • Duke Energy’s planned investments in renewable energy will result in renewables accounting for only eight percent of the utility’s total generation within the next 15 years if the NC Utilities Commission approves Duke’s latest IRP; and,
  • Duke Energy is using its political influence to stifle competition and limit renewable energy options for customers, by spending millions of dollars to lobby legislators and support anti-solar interest groups that have actively worked to maintain the dominant fossil fuel agenda and stifle clean energy development; and,
  • These efforts by Duke Energy leave communities — particularly those most affected by high energy prices, storms, and pollution — out of the conversation and without the power to choose cleaner, more affordable electricity; and,
  • Low-income residents, communities of color and Native American communities are disproportionately impacted by high energy costs and energy-related pollution, and are unable to take advantage of the economic, social, and environmental benefits of the clean energy technologies emerging elsewhere in the country; and,
  • In most states where monopolies have been quarantined to owning and managing transmission and distribution networks, or otherwise limited in their control of and participation in the electricity market, retail electricity prices have fallen (while prices in monopoly states have risen) as the markets have become more competitive saving customers hundreds of billions of dollars in the past decade; and,
  • In de-monopolized states, new policy instruments and models have emerged that expand customer choice and enhance clean energy development, including third-party leasing and power purchase agreements, “Community Choice Aggregation,” “(Re-)Municipalization,” “Clean energy cooperatives” and “Solar energy microgrids,” among others; and,
  • Under the current regulatory structure in North Carolina, where utilities have monopoly control over the procurement, generation and distribution of electricity, these emerging models are either structurally or functionally prohibited from emerging, as they would be considered competition to the monopoly utilities; and,
  • Conventional regulatory methodology on cost analysis of regulation in Chapter 62 does not factor the risks associated with a fossil fuel based energy economy, where loss of human life, productivity of the soil and waters of North Carolina, the social stability of our human communities, and the ecological stability, integrity and beauty and survival of the other than human communities of life are in fact PRICELESS, and therefore not worth the risk of continuing to support a fossil fuel based energy economy.
  • To achieve our state’s clean energy and economic potential, and  North Carolina must enable the growth of competition in the retail electricity market by de-monopolizing the state’s electric utility market.

Energy Justice NC’s campaign to end the Duke monopoly has 3 goals

  1. Get dirty fossil fuel money out of politics
  2. Have Governor Cooper appoint 3 new members to the NC Utilities Commission this year who understand the critical nature of regulating the utility industry so that it guarantee’s the best chance of slowing climate change, allowing communities to adapt and flourish in an equitable fashion, saving as much as possible of the beauty and integrity of our state for all future generations.
  3. Adopt new 21st Century public utility legislation that restructures and de-monopolizes the electric utility industry in North Carolina.

Please join our campaign by signing our Petition. Democracy only works when people show up. Take off the shackles of energy slavery. Energy Freedom Now!


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