Poll: 83.8% of North Carolinas Oppose Duke Energy Charging Ratepayers for Coal-Ash Cleanup; 83.2% Favor Politicians Who Support Renewables
Charlotte Business Journal:
Duke Energy gets bad news in a new poll on N.C. voter attitudes on energy: Three-quarters of voters surveyed are concerned about Duke’s coal-ash ponds and 83.8% say Duke itself should pay for cleaning them up and not charge customers.
And 67.5% of voters surveyed in a poll commissioned by Conservatives for Clean Energy say they are dissatisfied with the state’s current system of public utilities. Voters also think state officials should work to give consumers more options in the face of utility monopolies, the survey says.
The poll numbers come as Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress are preparing to file for rate increases later this year, which will ask, in part, that customers pay for at least some of $725 million the utilities have already spent cleaning up their ash ponds.
The utilities are in the midst of proceedings now at the N.C. Utilities Commission that seek to designate $5.2 billion in anticipated coal-ash cleanup costs as “asset retirement obligations.” That would make it possible for Duke to seek rate cases to charge those costs to customers as the money is actually spent.
As in previous surveys, the support for more renewables and clean energy appears strong.
Asked if they would support or oppose a lawmaker or candidate who supports policies that encourage wind, solar and other renewables, 83.2% said they would support such candidates and lawmakers. Even among Republican voters, 79.1% said that would support those policies.
“It’s an absolute slam dunk for Republicans to support those policies,” said Dee Stewart, CEO of the political consulting firm The Stewart Group, which works with Strategic Partners.