The Kinston City Council passed a resolution Monday in support of ongoing negotiations between the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency and Duke Energy, and the mayor hopes other towns will do the same.
Mayor BJ Murphy says he's excited about the resolution because it shows other communities that Kinston is serious about the possible deal and how it could impact local power bills.
"This (resolution) was not a necessary step, but considering there are 32 cities involved, it helps send a clear signal to other communities that Kinston is serious and would love to see other municipalities support the effort," Murphy said.
Duke Energy announced earlier this month that it is negotiating to buy ownership in power plants that have saddled more than 30 eastern North Carolina municipalities with high electric bills to pay off construction costs.
Among those cities in the east are Greenville, New Bern, Kinston, Washington, Ayden, Farmville, Belhaven, Robersonville, La Grange, Hookerton and Hamilton.
In 2011, WITN's Dave Jordan reported the 268,000 customers who get their power from one of the 32 municipalities that make up ElectriCities, have bills 20 to 35 percent higher than other utility customers.
Mayor Murphy acknowledges the negotiations could take as long as two years but says, "selling our ownership in power plants could make electric rates more competitive, and that's why we're taking this step."