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Progress Energy requests to lower retail customer charges

RALEIGH, N.C.  (June 4, 2012) – For the third time in four years, Progress Energy Carolinas today is requesting to lower the overall rate N.C. retail customers pay for electric service.

The utility is making three filings. One seeks to lower the portion of customer bills that pays for fuels used to generate electricity. Another filing requests a slight decrease in the monthly customer charge to pay for adding renewable and alternative energy as required under state law. The third seeks to raise the portion of bills used to pay for expanded energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs.

The net effect of the three filings, if approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission, would be a reduction of $0.66 per month on a 1,000-kilowatt-hour (kWh) bill – lowering the price to $105.34 from the current $106.

The proposed change in the fuel charge (a reduction of $1.31 for 1,000 kWh) reflects lower prices paid for power plant fuels, particularly natural gas, and lower overall coal use during the last year.

As filed, the energy-efficiency/demand-side management charge would increase $0.70 per month, and the charge for renewable energy would decrease 5 cents for the residential 1,000 kWh bill (to 51 cents per month).

In total, residential prices would decrease approximately 0.6 percent on a 1,000-kWh bill; bills for commercial customers would decrease approximately 0.7 percent, and industrial customer bills would decrease 0.6 percent, on average.

Progress Energy maintains a diverse mix of power plant resources – including nuclear, coal, natural gas, oil and hydroelectric energy – to maintain a reliable supply of electricity for the utility’s customers while keeping fuel expenses as low as possible. 

“We continue to focus on managing costs while maintaining, updating and expanding the reliable power system our customers depend on,” said Lloyd Yates, CEO and president of Progress Energy Carolinas, which serves 1.5 million customers, including 1.3 million in North Carolina. “That’s our commitment every day.”

The fuel portion of the company’s rates is adjusted annually by the Utilities Commission to reflect the actual cost of fuel the utility uses to produce electricity to meet customer demand. By law, Progress Energy does not make a profit from the fuel charge. The company also files annually to recover the costs of implementing programs designed to help reduce energy consumption and save customers money on their energy bills, as well as the portion in customer rates that pays for renewable energy investments.

Under North Carolina’s energy law passed in 2007, Progress Energy must provide an increasing percentage of energy sales from renewable resources. The requirement grows from 3 percent in 2012 to 12.5 percent in 2021. The company has signed contracts to purchase energy from a number of solar photovoltaic arrays, biofuels facilities and other renewable sources, and continues to scour the market for additional cost-effective renewable energy opportunities.

Apart from fuel, energy-efficiency and renewable energy expenses, the other main component of customer rates is the base retail rate. Progress Energy Carolinas’ base rates were last raised in 1988. The company expects to file its first general rate case in 25 years in North Carolina this fall to pay for significant investments in plant and grid modernization and to account for rising costs.

Progress Energy encourages customers to learn all they can about using energy wisely – to save energy and money. Customers can save up to 20 percent on their energy costs by making simple changes at home. Cleaning air filters, replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact-fluorescent bulbs, adjusting the thermostat and sealing windows and doors can result in noticeable savings. For more energy-efficiency tips and information on programs and incentives, visit

Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with 23,000 megawatts of generation capacity and approximately $9 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve about 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. The company is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, which includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. Progress Energy celebrated a century of service in 2008. Visit the company’s website at

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