The Fayetteville Public Works Commission Board approved an electric rate increase following a public hearing Wednesday morning.

“Most of what a customer pays PWC for electricity, goes directly to our power supply costs,” PWC Chairman Wade Fowler said. “Ninety percent of the increase adopted today goes directly to our power supply costs from Duke and those costs are projected to increase nearly $10 million in the next four years.”

In February, the N.C. Utilities Commission approved rate increases for Duke Energy Progress.

In addition to the rate increase, the PWC board also approved a coal ash fee of $2 until 2024 to fund PWC’s required portion of the Duke Energy coal ash cleanup program. These costs are coming because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed Duke to recover its cleanup costs from customers. PWC’s portion of the $2 billion cleanup is estimated to be $60 million to $70 million.

PWC is using reserve accounts to pay most of the money needed and the $2 fee charges for PWC residential customers will be collected through 2024. Without the reserves, the coal ash fee would be $10.

Two people spoke at the meeting against the changes. Their main concerns were due to the coal ash fee.

“Why are we paying for their disposal of the coal ash and the pollution they are causing?” Jose Corado said.

In addition, about a dozen people wrote letters in opposition to the increase. Their letters were read aloud during the meeting. Many shared the same concerns as well as concerns about higher prices in general.

Fowler, the board chairman, said he was upset about the state’s decision, but that PWC is legally obligated to pay for a portion of the cleanup.

“Unfortunately, we are not allowed to not pay it and so we are forced to pay it whether we like it or not,” Fowler said.

The remaining funds will pay for improvements and maintenance for the current system. These projects include replacement of existing underground cable, transmission poles and electric substations.

The current basic facility charge for residential usage is $15 and the proposed basic facility charge for residential would be $17.50 for a single-phase service charge and $22.50 for a three-phase service charge. The proposed energy charge would go up to $0.1010 per kilowatt hour from $0.10040 per kilowatt hour.

If a residential customer uses 1,000 kilowatt hours in a billing period, the bill would go from about $115.40 to $118.50, PWC spokeswoman Carolyn Justice-Hinson said.

“PWC strives to provide safe and reliable services and maintain reasonable, competitive rates," PWC General Manager David Trego said. “Our electric rates remain among the lowest, in fact, next to the lowest, only to Duke Energy in Fayetteville/Cumberland County. When PWC customers compare their bills to other electric providers, customers that also have water and/or sewer service from PWC, should compare only the electric portion of their bill to those of other electric providers in our area including Duke Energy, Lumbee River and South River who do not provide water or sewer service to their customers.”


Staff writer Monica Vendituoli can be reached at or 486-3596.