NC Lawmakers Look At Steep Power Bills, City Debt

North Carolina lawmakers are preparing to put fresh sets of eyes on billions of dollars in debt that needs to be paid by towns and cities in the electricity business.

A new General Assembly committee convenes this week to look at a problem dating to the 1970s. More than 50 communities agreed then to borrow money to invest in power plants to ensure they had enough electricity.

Nuclear power plant costs combined with a changing energy picture placed a large financial burden on 32 eastern municipalities. Their citizens pay roughly 20 percent to 50 percent more on average compared to customers of traditional utilities.

Committee co-chairman Sen. Buck Newton of Wilson said a solution is needed to ease steep power bills and make eastern North Carolina more competitive economically.

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