Breaking Up Monopoly Power in North Carolina

Breaking Up Monopoly Power in North Carolina

With its chokehold on North Carolina, the monopoly utility Duke Energy has stood in the way of a transition to 100% renewable energy, has wreaked environmental destruction and has corrupted democracy.

As one of the worst carbon polluters in the country, Duke has mismanaged coal ash waste, causing toxic water and polluted air to poison communities while massively expanding the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. On top of the environmental harm they’ve caused, Duke has a long history of buying legislation and legislators with campaign contributions.

For more than half a year, Duke tried to get Senate Bill 559, a bill on storm recovery costs, passed with an addition that would have allowed for major rate hike increases while side-stepping oversight. This addition would have raised electric bills by as much as 50%, would have resulted in billions of dollars in excess profits for Duke and would have placed $10 billion in coal ash costs onto residents.

Essentially, North Carolinians would have been paying more money to make up for Duke’s failure to clean up its pollution. And, in doing so, Duke’s chokehold on North Carolina would have been strengthened.

North Carolina officials were not elected to protect mega-corporations like Duke. They were elected to represent and protect people — so Friends of the Earth members reminded them of that.

We cannot let Duke rig the rules to help themselves continue to destroy our environment.

To stop Duke Energy from writing their own rules, more than 700 Friends of the Earth members and activists in North Carolina wrote to their state legislators, demanding that they oppose Duke’s rate-hike provision.

And those legislators listened. A fair SB 559 was unanimously passed in both chambers — without Duke’s rate-hike.

Thanks to our members in North Carolina, grassroots activists successfully stopped Duke’s money from superseding public interest. This victory shows the true power of grassroots organizing and reminds us why we must continue speaking truth to power.

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