LENOIR — Blue Ridge Energy is giving members $6 million in credits on August bills to distribute the cooperative's portion of funds received from Duke Energy's final coal ash settlement approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for Duke's retail customers.
The settlement with the North Carolina Attorney General, NCUC, and the Sierra Club resolves how Duke will pay to clean up its coal ash. Last year, Duke Energy announced the largest coal ash cleanup in national history with the utility to excavate the majority of its remaining coal ash at 14 coal plants. That effort encompasses the removal of 124 million tons of coal ash.
The retail settlement reduces Duke's ability to recover from its customers the full cost associated with coal ash cleanup and is considered a "win" for Duke Energy customers. Blue Ridge Energy is a wholesale customer, purchasing wholesale power from Duke Energy Carolinas to distribute to its members. The cooperative has a provision in its wholesale power contract for the benefit of its members that provides retail parity regarding coal ash costs and this settlement agreement.
"We're very pleased to be able to give members the $6 million in funds received from our wholesale power provider as result of this settlement and our contract terms," said Blue Ridge Energy Chief Executive Officer Doug Johnson.
While Blue Ridge Energy doesn't own any coal plants, environmental regulations related to the management of coal ash and its clean up impacts the price all North Carolina utilities pay for wholesale power.
Blue Ridge Energy works to operate efficiently while providing high-quality and reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost. The cooperative minimizes cost increases by implementing technologies that make the electric system more efficient, and through other cost-saving measures, including wholesale power management.
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 78,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as portions of Alexander, Wilkes and Avery counties. Learn more at BlueRidgeEnergy.com.