Thursday, April 2, 2015

Duke Energy needs to be stopped; HB245 needs to be law

The citizens of North Carolina are under attack by monopoly Duke Energy because of legislators in the General Assembly who are standing up to Duke Energy with the Energy Freedom Act, aka House Bill 245. The piece of legislation would allow third party providers of solar panels to sell the power generated to their customers, by-passing Duke Energy’s grip on consumers. Duke Energy has deep pockets because of its monopoly on creating and distributing energy in its footprints, all sanctioned by the states in which Duke Energy resides. The power company is using its boodle to lobby to stop the legislation. Duke Energy wants to control energy expansion and prices to the consumer. Therefore the citizens of North Carolina are under attack by Duke Energy.

In North Carolina, utility rates are lightly regulated by the NC Utilities Commission and politically challenged in court by the NC Attorney General, currently Roy Cooper but it could be anyone who has served in that office. The challenge is usually seriously filed but light-heartedly done, allowing just enough room for Duke Energy to keep raising the rates, all in the name of corporate profits. No doubt, in the name of fairness and fair rates, the Duke Energy monopoly should be converted to a not-for-profit organization, booting out the shareholders. (Note: I may be one of those with investments in mutual funds, but so be it.)

What HR245 does is allow me to hire a third-party to install and operate solar panels on my rooftop and provide (sell) to me the power to operate my house with certain restrictions. This will allow a homeowner to opt out of or reduce reliance on Duke Energy and opt in to solar power, reducing Duke Energy’s need to build more energy plants and to raise rates to build and operate such. Or course, if this legislation becomes law, and if citizens of North Carolina drop from Duke Energy’s customer base, the conglomerate will continue to ask for rate increases to pay for its over-built infrastructure and inflated top-heavy payroll instead of down-sizing and reducing cost.

The legislation needs to pass both houses of the General Assembly, and Governor Pat McCrory, a former Duke Energy employee, must sign it for the citizens of North Carolina. There are five states that prohibit solar companies from selling power directly to customers, and this needs to change. To lobby against Duke Energy, call the General Assembly at 919-733-4111 and ask for your legislators. If you do not know your legislators, with your 9-digit zip code, you can look up your State Representative and Senator and send them a message through NC WARN. If you pass on this opportunity to take part in the legislative process, Duke Energy wins. Don’t let its greed continue.
-------------------- word of the day
boodle (noun) [bood-l]: a bribe or other illicit payment especially to or from a politician; graft

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