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Like many U.S. utilities, Duke sees a future of restricted growth in electricity demand as homes, buildings, devices and appliances become more efficient. Good said last month she wants to find ways to keep company profits rising by looking for opportunities to cut costs and grow the company even without rising electricity sales.
Regulators in May approved a 7.5 percent average increase over two years for about 1.3 million customers of the former Progress Energy. The new rates will cost consumers an extra $326 million over the next two years, but allow the company to recoup some of the $11 billion invested since Progress Energy's last rate increase in 1987.
The state utilities commission opens hearings Monday that will determine whether regulators allow the company's operating subsidiary for the state's western half, Duke Energy Carolinas, a rate hike of more than $200 million a year and a 10.2 percent return on equity, a measure of profit.