Progress Energy Customers Speak Out About 4.7- 5.7% Rate Hike

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Progress Energy customers could soon see a hefty increase in utility bills as soon as this summer.

Turning on the air conditioning in June could prove to be pricey as a rate increase of 4.7% could be on the way. Progress Energy and the state's public staff agreed Monday to that rate increase for the first year, and a 5.7% rate increase every year following. That's down from the 11% rate increase Progress initially requested its customers pay. Tuesday night a public hearing was held at the Greene County courthouse, where customers like Albert Barron could express their concerns.

"Wow. All I could think about was, why? Why? I'm trying to see some rationale behind it, or some justification," said Barron

Progress says the rate increases are mainly to fund new natural gas power plants which will burn safer and more efficiently than coal plants. The N.C. Utilities Commission will make the final decision on a rate increase at an evidentiary hearing in Raleigh on March 18th.