Coal Ash May Cost Customers

Environmental, Legislative

Posted on June 28th, 2017

HF Lee Plant Flooding - Hurricane Matthew

Citizen action is needed to stop a provision that is likely to increase costs and potentially delay clean-up of Duke Energy coal ash ponds.  

The NC General Assembly (GA) is proceeding with legislation (H374) that would eliminate one of three coal ash recycling projects required of Duke Energy by the 2014 Coal Ash Management Act.  This bill passed in the wake of the massive Dan River coal ash spill that caused pollution for miles down this important river.  The GA’s actions are puzzling since NC concrete manufacturers have a great need for coal ash and are currently importing coal ash from China and elsewhere to meet their needs.

Apparently justification for the eliminating the recycling project is based on old Duke Energy initiated study that underestimated the demand for coal ash within the state.  Two recent studies by NC State University confirm the need and demand for coal ash by NC concrete manufacturers.  H374 would allow Duke Energy to drop the one coal ash recycling project if it is not profitable.  The proper comparison should be between the cost of coal ash removal to lined landfills versus the cost of the recycling effort.    

Call your NC Representative and Senator and ask them to remove the coal ash recycling pullback from H374.  (Find your reps here.)

  • Coal ash recycling is the best way to permanently remove coal ash hazard from our environment
  • It is silly for concrete manufacturers to be importing coal ash from China when we have a problem with storage of existing coal ash in NC
  • Duke Energy and the legislature need to adhere to the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 (we won’t forget the spill that occurred on the Dan River)

This legislation action in H374 comes at a time when Duke Energy Progress, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, has proposed a 16.7 percent rate increase for its residential customers in North Carolina, the largest rate hike the Raleigh-based power company has sought the 1980s.  If approved, the increase would add about $200/year for the average homeowner, and a total increase of about $477 million in 2018.  

The proposed increase includes a request of $195 million for five years  to be paid by electricity users to begin recovering its costs for moving coal ash from storage alongside our rivers to lined landfills as required by the 2014 Coal Ash Management Act, passed after the Dan River disaster that caused massive pollution in that river. Many believe that shareholders should bear most or all of the cost of the coal ash clean-up.

For more information on the rate hike proposal, see

Our article on the coal ash spill in 2016:

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