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Duke Energy says political funds no longer part of proposed rate hike

RALEIGH (AP) — Duke Energy said Monday that it made an accounting mistake when it tried to pass on to customers more than $326,000 in political contributions to a clean-energy advocacy group and Republican Party organizations when it asked to raise electricity costs by more than $200 million a year.
The country’s largest electric company said human error resulted in adding the political contributions to its request for a third rate increase since 2009 for customers of Duke Energy Carolinas, which serves much of the area from Durham to the Tennessee border.
The contributions mistakenly included as costs in its rate increase donations that went to the Republican Governors Association, the North Carolina and South Carolina Republican parties, and the group Strategies for the Global Environment.
The company’s admission came as the North Carolina Utilities Commission opened hearings to decide whether to allow the company to raise electricity costs by $205 million a year initially, increasing to $235 million after two years. That’s about half the $446 million Duke Energy originally requested in February. The requested rate increase was reduced in a settlement last month.

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