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A Friday ruling from the North Carolina Supreme Court could have state regulators partially rethink who will pay for Duke Energy’s cleanup, estimated by the utility to cost $8-9 billion.
Duke and its shareholders will not have to bear the full brunt of the cleanup costs, the court ruled, upholding in part regulators’ initial ruling that was challenged by the state’s attorney general. But the court also found the commission erred in its rejection of North Carolina Public Staff’s “equitable sharing” proposal that would split the cost of cleanup between ratepayers and shareholders and extend the timeline for paying off the costs, while not allowing the utility to profit from the cleanup.
The court’s ruling does not mean the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has to implement public staff’s proposal, however, only that the regulatory body needs to consider “all potentially relevant facts,” including alleged environmental violations.