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The Associated Press November 4, 2011, 10:38AM ET

North Carolina AG opposes Duke Energy rate hike

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says he's opposing Duke Energy Corp.'s proposal to raise the rates consumers pay for electricity.

Cooper said Thursday the Charlotte-based utility's bid to raise rates by an average of about 17 percent during hard economic times would make it harder for families to make ends meet.

The state Justice Department's consumer protection division is taking part in the rate case and plans to participate in a hearing on the issue scheduled for late this month.

Duke Energy's increase would be the largest for residential customers in at least 20 years. If the North Carolina Utilities Commission allows the increase, monthly bills would rise from $95 to about $113, starting in February.

Charlotte-based Duke also wants to raise South Carolina residential power rates by 17 percent.

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