Hurdle cleared in utility sale – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: I am so glad to have been a part of finding out about ElectriCities back in the early 2000’s. Carol Batchelor, Lewis Turner, Andre Knight, myself and a couple of others in our group held a meeting at Truth Tabernacle and this is when we found out there was such a thing as ElectriCities. After that time there were a series of meetings held as we learned more about ElectriCities. Thanks to former Rocky Mount City Councilwoman now Senator Angela Bryant and especially Rocky Mount City Councilman Andre Knight who replaced Bryant on the NCEMPA North Carolina Eastern Municipality Power Agency Board where Knight fought hard dealing with trying to lowering of the light bill. Now we didn’t see the merger coming to help with accomplishing mission of lowering the utilities.

ElectriCities has jumped another hurdle in the race to lower power rates for Rocky Mount, Tarboro and other Eastern North Carolina municipalities.

In order for an energy asset sale to Duke Progress Energy to be finalized and electric rates to drop all 32 members of ElectriCities’ N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency had to sign off on the deal.

Rocky Mount approved the sale May 11. Tarboro approved the sale June 1. The final municipality approved the deal late last week.

“This marks another major milestone towards the completion of the transaction,” said David Barnes, chief legal officer for ElectriCities.

The asset sale was enacted by the N.C. General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in April.

The asset sale and approval of bond issuance to lower debt had overwhelming support from the municipalities anxious to close the transaction and the lower wholesale costs, Barnes said. (Source: Read more)

Power plant sale could lower electric bills – Rocky Mount Telegram

Rocky Mount electric customers could see their bills slashed by as much as a third if negotiations are successful for Duke Energy to buy Eastern North Carolina cities’ ownership in power plants, a fellow at the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights said Monday.

But attorney Peter Hull Gilbert said the 32 cities in the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency will have to play hard ball in the negotiations with Duke to accomplish this outcome. In a telephone interview Monday morning, he said he does not expect state regulators to force Duke Energy to buy the power agency’s $1.9 billion power plant debt.

“If this is going to have any positive impact on ratepayers, it’s going to depend on the price that Duke pays for these assets,” said Gilbert, who wrote a blog on the negotiations that was posted on the UNC School of Law’s website.

In that blog, he outlines Rocky Mount’s plight. “Rocky Mount, Wilson, and other small cities in Eastern North Carolina, bought large ownership shares of these power plants anticipating continued service to large industrial power users, but with the loss of manufacturing facilities across the region, there is smaller industrial demand,” Gilbert writes. “With the high power costs, these cities cannot attract new industry; even when new industry comes to the region they intentionally locate in areas served by Duke Energy or a cooperative rather than pay the higher municipal rates. The result is that the entire debt burden falls upon the predominantly low-wealth residents who can least afford to pay.” (Source: Read more)

See related:

Duke Energy