Dukes Dirty Business: Rate Hikes for Coal

by Monica Embrey

October 2, 2012

Duke Energy spends a lot of money branding itself as a clean energy company. On Labor Day during the week of the Democratic National Convention here in Charlotte, Duke Energy set up an elaborate display of beautiful wind turbines and solar panels at their PR booth.

Last week, they announced the greenwashing of their logo. But these PR stunts dont hide the fact that Duke is continuing an old, dirty and dangerous business model. Its a business model that values the companys bottom line more than the people in our community or the future of our planet.

This weekend we learned that they are delaying the opening of the newest dirty coal fired boiler in the country at Cliffside Coal Plant, located between Asheville and Charlotte here in North Carolina. Duke originally wanted to open two new boilers at the Cliffside and further deepen NCs dependence on dirty energy. For years activists have rallied at protests, engaged in direct action, and run grassroots and legal strategies to stop Dukes dirty business.

People are fighting the Cliffside coal plant because its old, dirty, dangerous and expensive.

In the past year, thousands of North Carolinians came together to fight dirty energy rate hikes. In public hearings from Charlotte to Raleigh, hundreds of rate payers spoke out against the almost 20% rate hike because of its link to dirty coal and dangerous nuclear energy. Six activists (including myself) got arrested at the Duke Energy headquarters in February sending the message: Duke Be a Good Neighbor. No Dirty Rate Hikes. This summer as Greenpeace flew our Airship over Charlotte, local activists spelled out in giant white letters:

We want clean air and affordable rates. Be a leader Duke in a park a few miles from Uptown. Its clear that North Carolinians are saying No to Dirty Energy Rate Hikes.

Duke is refusing to listen to the science and the people of North Carolina and is going ahead with this expensive, dirty coal plant. Duke has even had the audacity to announce that they plan on raising electric rates in NC again this fall to pay for the final construction costs at Cliffside.

We arent going to stand by and let Duke charge us for dirty energy. Join the movement for a clean energy future and take action today. Tell the North Carolina Utilities Commission to reject Duke Energy’s unfair rate hike proposal.

Monica Embrey

By Monica Embrey

Monica Embrey is a former Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She led Greenpeace’s national campaign on Duke Energy, the largest utility in the country, to promote affordable renewable energy in the Southeast.

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