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Fayetteville PWC approves electricity rate hikes: 2% this year, 2% next year

Some customers opposed the increase; others said it’s acceptable


Electric power rates and other fees for customers of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission will rise as of May 1 this year and again on May 1, 2025.

The PWC is boosting prices by about 4% — 2% this year and 2% next year — on average to cover its rising expenses, it has said on its website.

The commission on Wednesday voted 4-0 for the increase on electric power rates, plus higher prices for various fees it levies for other services after taking public comment on the proposal.

Although rates are rising May 1, they will drop in August when a temporary rate increase approved in 2023 expires, PWC spokeswoman Carolina Justice-Hinson said.

And although the electric rates will rise again on May 1, 2025, she said, the increase will be partly offset by a $2 per month reduction in residential bills. That $2 has been charged for several years to pay Duke Energy Progress to clean up coal ash that has been stored at its coal-fired generation plants across the state.

The cleanup was ordered after an ash storage pond at a Duke facility in Rockingham County burst in 2014. It spilled millions of tons of ash into the Dan River.

In addition to providing electricity to the Fayetteville area, the PWC provides water and sewer service.

What the public had to say

Several dozen customers submitted written comments to the commission about the rates. One man, Steve Harper of Fayetteville, appeared at the PWC meeting in person to submit his thoughts.

Harper had no complaints about the electricity rate increase. He asked the commissioners to cut the basic sewer rate of $45 per month. That rate assumes he uses 4,000 gallons per month of water, he said, yet he uses only about 2,000 gallons per month. Harper’s neighborhood gets drinking water from a private company, but has PWC for sewer service.

More individuals sent comments against the rate increase. Some said they are on fixed incomes. Fewer than half wrote to say the increase was acceptable. Among the comments:

  • “I am writing to you today to express my outrage at PWC’s proposed rate hikes in May.” This person was one of nine who said the PWC must address the PFAS “forever chemical” pollutants in its water instead of raising electricity rates. (The PWC has proposed installing $92 million worth of equipment to filter these chemicals from its drinking water.)
  • “I urge you all not to produce the rate hikes… The cost of living is already making it hard enough to survive.”
  • “I am aware of the increase in rates and I admit I don’t want to pay more (and who does) but I also understand that everything has gone up in price.”
  • “PWC is raising our rates? That seems immensely fair. We will still be at a lower cost than any of the utilities in the area.”

The new rate structure also changes the PWC’s time-of-use rates as of May 1, 2025. Currently, the PWC charges higher electricity prices for four hours per business day. This is to discourage people from using electricity during those hours.

Next year, higher prices will only apply to three hours per day, rather than four hours per day, but they will be levied on weekends and holidays as well as on business days.

Senior reporter Paul Woolverton can be reached at 910-261-4710 and pwoolverton@cityviewnc.com.

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pwc, electricity, rates, duke, coal ash