Duke Reaches Agreement With North Carolina For Coal Ash Costs
(Bloomberg) -- Duke Energy Corp. reached an agreement with North Carolina and the Sierra Club over the costs of cleaning up waste from coal-burning power plants.
The proposed settlement set to be filed Monday with the North Carolina Utilities Commission would slash customers’ costs for closing coal-ash ponds by about $1.1 billion through 2030, Duke said in a statement.
The deal resolves the last remaining major issues in Duke’s long-running fight over cleaning up waste from coal plants, the company said.
Ratings agencies should view the settlement as a positive development as the company will also be allowed to earn a return on its coal-ash expenditures, Guggenheim Securities LLC analyst Shahriar Pourreza wrote in a note Monday. “Focus can now be shifted to working with regulators and legislators on clean energy-legislation” and goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Pourreza said.
Duke Chief Executive Officer Lynn Good warned last year that a negative decision on recovering coal-ash cleanup costs from customers could lead to a downgrade from ratings agencies.
The agreement is a win for every Duke customer, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement. “I have long held that North Carolinians should not bear the full cost of cleaning up coal ash,” he said. “As a result of today’s settlement, we won’t — to the tune of more than $1 billion.”
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