Duke Energy agrees to pay $1.1 billion in coal ash settlement

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Source: Charlotte Observer / Getty

Duke Energy reached an agreement Monday to pay $1.1 billion attributed to clean up costs in North Carolina’s coal ash basins. However, the one-time settlement is controversial to many because it leaves an outstanding $3 billion unpaid.

As one of the largest utilities in the region, Duke Energy agreed to the payout along with recycling the ash and closing down or restructuring production plants. The clean up efforts are already underway with an estimated cost of over $4 billion thus far.

The compromise was proposed by the energy giant and was given the okay by the Sierra Club and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.

“$1.1 billion dollars is going to be taken off of your backs and is going to be assumed by Duke Energy in the cost of cleaning up coal ash,” explained Stein.

Former N.C. Governor Pat McCrory took on the burden of assessing the damage by the coal ash spill in the Dan River. He noted that current Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General John Stein promised Duke Energy shareholders would foot the bill for clean up cost.

McCrory is disappointed by the contradiction from Cooper and Stein, as he was correct by saying that shared cost was a standard procedure with energy spills. A point of emphasis McCrory made while on the campaign trail running for reelection against Cooper.

The former Governor even alluded on his radio show Tuesday that the projected clean up costs are extremely low saying, “You’re talking about seven-or-eight billion dollars to move these storage units. I definitely recommended three of them be moved.” He went on to say the Democrats who held office prior to his time in Raleigh knew about the spill and it wasn’t announced publicly until his third month in office.

Customers will now take on three-fourths of the $4 billion cost for Duke’s mismanagement of resources. A move many North Carolina residents aren’t happy with going forward not knowing the entire cost associated with cleaning up.

“The North Carolina utilities Commission as well as the North Carolina Supreme Court has affirmed these are prudent costs and is part of producing electricity for our customers,” Duke Energy spokesperson Meredith Archie told WBTV.

“Duke Energy has been producing energy from coal-fired units for decades. And so a byproduct of this is coal ash.”

Listen to McCrory’s entire thoughts on the coal ash clean up by Duke Energy below.