KFP: ElectriCities members hopeful that Duke, Progress merger will lead to lower rates

by David Anderson
Kinston Free Press

Call it a light-bulb idea. The impending merger of Duke Power and Progress Energy could be structured in a way that would relieve Kinston and other ElectriCities municipalities of burdensome debt and bring their customers lower electric rates.

The only problem is that Duke Power and Progress Energy see that as a dim-bulb idea.

Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy has been working with mayors of various NCEMPA member cities, such as Elizabeth City and Smithfield, to organize and find ways to bring down electric rates.

“Regardless of the (utilities’) position, regardless of our position, I am very confident to tell you that this could bring forth some opportunities that we’ve never thought about,” the mayor said.

Murphy said potential changes could include the merger of the eastern and western agencies, a sale of power-generating assets, or others. He stressed that it is too early to tell, though.

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