No Solution From Panel Studying Municipal Electric Debt

A legislative committee examining why electric rates for 30 eastern North Carolina municipalities are so high says more study is needed on the debt that causes eye-popping power bills and whether a solution can be found.

Chairmen of the panel released a draft of its recommendations Wednesday. They didn't include which direction the towns and cities should go to reduce or eliminate the $2.1 billion they owe on power plant investments 30 years ago.

Co-chairman Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson said there wasn't much time for the committee to offer solutions before the Legislature reconvenes in May. He said more eyes are needed on the problem the Legislature last examined in depth in the late 1990s.

Average electric costs are roughly 20 to 50 percent higher for the municipal customers.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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The legislative committee trying to find a solution to the extremely high power bills in several cities in Eastern Carolina will meet again Wednesday in Raleigh.

The committee on municipal power agency relief's co-chair, state senator Buck Newton of Wilson says they're looking for a formula to lower the bills of customers served by Electricities.

Electricities serves 32 municipalities in Eastern Carolina. Wednesday's meeting marks the third of four scheduled hearings.

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