Governor Signs Bill Lowering Electric Rates in Eastern North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation today that is expected to lower electric rates for consumers in eastern North Carolina and help attract new jobs to the region. The governor signed the legislation (SB 305) at the Wilson Operations Center.

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The new law will allow Duke Energy Progress to purchase generation assets from the 32 cities and towns that make up the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA). The $1.2 billion purchase will significantly lower the agency’s debt load from $1.9 billion to approximately $480 million.

“This purchase provides a private sector, market-driven solution to a major economic development obstacle we faced in eastern North Carolina,” Governor McCrory said. “The lower electric rates this purchase should produce will save consumers money and make the region more attractive to job creators who want to take advantage of the region’s talented workforce and special quality of life.”

The new law also allows NCEMPA members to issue bonds to refinance approximately $480 million of debt after this purchase is complete. It also allows NCEMPA power agencies to enter into purchase power agreements to replace the electricity previously provided by the generation assets they are selling.

The proposed purchase has the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The 32 cities and towns that make up the NCEMPA must also vote to approve the sale.