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Duke Energy reaches settlement agreement with state

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Duke Energy announced Tuesday it had filed a settlement agreement with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).

The good news: Rates won’t be increasing as expected.

“This settlement has broad support and was developed collaboratively with the Office of Public Counsel and other consumer advocates, including the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, White Springs Agricultural Chemicals, Inc., d/b/a PCS Phosphate, Florida Retail Federation and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy,” the company said in a press release.

“If approved by the (commission) at the end of the year, the agreement will take effect January 2018 and will include investments of nearly $6 billion over the next four years while minimizing the impact on Duke Energy customer bills,” it said.

Here’s more from the release:

Major components of the revised settlement agreement include:

— Cancellation of our plans to construct the Levy County nuclear project. Customers will see a reduction of $2.50 per 1,000 kWh for residential customers through the removal of unrecovered Levy Nuclear Project costs and will not pay any further costs related to this project. The company will absorb more than $150 million in costs that would have been recovered through rates.

— A reduction of $2.53 per 1,000 kWh for residential customers by spreading the costs for under-recovered fuel of approximately $196 million over a two-year period (rather than one year).

— The construction or acquisition of 700 megawatts (MW) of solar power facilities within four years accelerating the company’s previous 10-year solar installation plan.

— Expanded customer choices with two new optional billing programs– a Shared Solar program to allow customers to participate in solar generation, and a FixedBill program for residential customers to allow them to pay a fixed amount each month regardless of usage.

— Investments to modernize the energy grid to enhance reliability, reduce outages, shorten restoration times, harden the grid against severe weather and storms, and support the growth of renewable energy and emerging technologies.

— Installation of advanced metering technology (smart meters) to enable more bill-lowering tools, access to more information about energy use, and the ability to receive usage alerts, outage notifications and customized billing options once fully implemented.

— Installation of more than 500 electric vehicle charging stations and up to 50 MW of battery storage.

Duke Energy Florida has requested for the PSC to hold a hearing and expects to have a decision by December 2017. If the proposed changes are approved, Duke Energy Florida’s typical residential, commercial and industrial customer bills would increase approx. 1-3% annually in 2019-2021; about the same as general inflation rates.

Typical residential rates are expected to remain at or below the national average.

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