Coal Ash Impact: Blue Ridge Energy Shares Early Info on Impact to Cooperative

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Lenoir, North Carolina – Blue Ridge Energy is sharing early information available from their wholesale power supplier, Duke Energy Carolinas, regarding how the cost impact of coal ash legislation and regulations will affect the cooperative.

While Blue Ridge Energy doesn’t own any coal plants, recent state legislation and federal regulations related to the remediation of coal ash by Duke Energy is impacting the price of wholesale power for the cooperative and others.

Early estimates indicate the impact to the cooperative will be around $25 million over a 15-year period. To keep cooperative member’s costs as low as possible, Blue Ridge Energy has completed negotiations with Duke Energy Carolinas for a fair, just and reasonable allocation of the costs required of Duke for coal ash compliance.

However, the specific impact won’t be known until after the retail rate case for Duke Energy Carolinas is finalized by the North Carolina Utilities Commission. That rate case begins this fall, following a different coal ash rate case beginning in June for another Duke subsidiary, Duke Energy Progress. The cooperative will be impacted only by the rate case for its power supplier, Duke Energy Carolinas.

For decades, many have benefitted from the low cost electricity generated by coal plants. Now, legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2014 and 2016 requires coal ash to be managed in a more environmentally acceptable manner, which is leading to increases in the price of wholesale power.

With the information available at this time, Blue Ridge Energy anticipates the need for a rate adjustment in 2018 as a result of Duke’s coal ash remediation. Based on current estimates, we believe the increase will be around 3 percent. The cooperative will keep its members informed as the rate case for Duke Energy Carolinas concludes and the final impact is determined.

As a not-for-profit electric cooperative serving 75,000 members primarily in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties, Blue Ridge Energy exists to provide its member-owners with the lowest cost electricity possible in the most reliable, safe and environmentally responsible manner possible. Learn more about the cooperative at www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com.

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