Apparently profits are more important than fairness and responsibility:
Duke Energy responded sharply Wednesday to criticism from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and others who have questioned the utility’s opening move toward a rate increase that would help cover its coal ash cleanup costs.
The corporate attorneys told the commission in a filing late Wednesday that Duke Energy’s coal ash predicament meets the “criteria for granting a deferral,” a special accounting technique enabling it to set aside more than $700 million in accumulated coal ash costs for consideration in the upcoming rate case. “Denial of the request would adversely affect the companies’ financial stability,” they added.
That is, if you'll excuse the quaint terminology, a bleeding crock. Duke Energy has been paying a dividend to its shareholders every quarter for well over a half-century, and that dividend got a 4% bump towards the end of last year. But what's really ironic about their whining about coal ash, is how much they've invested in fracked natural gas distribution:
Duke Energy expects to invest around $6 billion in its Gas Utilities and Infrastructure business over the next five years. Growth in Gas Utilities and Infrastructure will be focused on the following:
With the acquisition of Piedmont, Duke Energy now operates gas distribution businesses across five states. The continued integration of Piedmont, as well as additional investments in the gas Local Distribution Company (LDC) system, will help maintain system integrity and expand gas distribution to new customers.
Duke Energy will continue to grow its midstream pipeline business, underpinned by investments in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Sabal Trail and Constitution pipeline projects. These highly -contracted pipelines will bring much needed, low-cost gas supplies to the eastern U.S., spurring economic growth and helping Duke Energy to grow its customer base in the Southeast.
That's right, they've got billions to spend purchasing gas infrastructure, but they just can't afford to clean up their own coal ash messes without picking the pockets of ratepayers.
This is tantamount to fraud, and the AG's office needs to throw a little more weight around and stop the fleecing of customers.