'We Are Already Living On Bottled Water': Duke Energy Gets Earful From Customers

Coal Ash Protest

GREENSBORO, N.C, -- Sometimes it's a struggle to keep the lights on, and right now a lot of people are facing sticker shock as they open this month's power bill.

Blame it on our recent cold snap.

Now, Duke Energy wants to raise rates to pay for the cleanup from that massive coal ash spill in 2014.

The request is a 19 dollar a month increase.

The protestors are saying they don't believe they should have to pay for Duke Energy's cleanup.

While one side says they shouldn't have to help pay for the cleanup, Duke energy in the past has said we all have benefited from Coal, and now we all need to help clean it up.

These folks are out here ahead of a planned public hearing with the North Carolina Utilities commission.

The public hearing is about Duke Energy's request to raise monthly energy bills by nearly 20 dollars a month -- to help cover almost 300 million dollars a year that it is going to cost to clean up the coal ash sites.

Deborah Graham, is from Salisbury, and lives near a Coal Ash Plant. She said, her and her family have been drinking from bottled water for more than 1,000 days.

"That is not right. That is like a triple slap in our face because we are already living on bottled water, and now Duke Energy is wanting us, with everyone else to pay for this cleanup," said Graham.

But, folks with Duke say coal was the backbone of the state's energy for so long, this cleanup is just a normal part of the process we have to go through.

"We've really been powering the state with affordable and reliable energy for decades. A lot of that was through our coal fire generation. With that comes the by-product which is coal ash. Part of permanently closing the coal ash basins, is part of the normal operations of our plants," said Meredith Archie, a Duke Energy spokesperson.

The public comment meeting took place Wednesday night.

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