Legislative Dash Deals Setback for Energy Conservation Codes
Two years after winning majorities for the first time in over 140 years, North Carolina’s legislative Republicans expanded their margins in both the House and Senate on Election Day last Tuesday. North Carolina will also have a new Governor and Lt. Governor in January – Pat McCrory easily won, yet the race for the number #2 spot remains too close to call. Click here to view unofficial election results from the NC Board of Elections.
Homes built to voluntary ENERGY STAR® specifications made up about 26% of all new homes constructed in the United States during 2011. And, North Carolina is one of 15 states leading the nation. Under the latest update of the specifications that went into effect earlier this year, ENERGY STAR homes consume at least 15% less energy than those built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
Duke Energy Carolinas has decided to put off rate filings in the Carolinas until February or March. That would put the company about seven or eight months behind when it had expected to start collecting higher rates. Following a typical regulatory process, it is likely to be September or October before new rates take effect.
Duke already is deeply involved in major proceedings before the N.C. Utilities Commission. The most notable is the commission’s investigation into whether Duke intentionally misled regulators about who would run the company after its $32 billion purchase of Progress Energy Inc. The other major proceeding is a rate case filed by Duke’s Progress Energy Carolinas subsidiary in North Carolina.
Some observers believe Duke wants to give the commission time to complete the merger investigation before it seeks approval for a rate hike. Duke initially planned to file notice that it would seek a third rate case in four years in June or July.
Charlotte Business Journal by John Downey, Senior Staff WriterDate: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 5:37pm EDT - Last Modified: Friday, October 12, 2012, 7:48am EDT
Plans afoot to eliminate the state's corporate income tax could put North Carolina's generous renewable-energy tax credit on the chopping block when the General Assembly convenes its long session in Raleigh in January.
That possibility has been raised by a number of speakers at the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association's Making Energy Work conference in Charlotte over the last two days.
North Carolina’s economy continues to recover from the recession with our unemployment rate above the national rate. However, the good news is that several sectors, including clean energy, are hiring employees, expanding their businesses, and pumping millions into local economies in every region of our state. These and other important economic findings are detailed in the newly released 2012 North Carolina Clean Energy Industries Census. Retaining and creating jobs and fostering new economic development opportunities must continue to be a top priority for all North Carolinians, especially businesses and policymakers – and the clean energy sector holds great promise and opportunities if we maintain a balance of pro-business policies and regulations.
Click here to download the 2012 NC Clean Energy Industries Census.
Rising unemployment rates, unsettling world events, and economic uncertainty continues to influence the usage behaviors of the American utility customer. Today's customers are looking for helpful information from their utility provider on how best to conserve and are looking for tips, suggestions and directions on how to save money -- now. Utilities, on the other hand, are faced with rising costs to implement new regulations, smart technologies, mandated reductions in carbon emissions and increase the adoption of alternative energies. These endeavors all come at a cost, and these costs will need to be passed on to the customer. Rate increases if not clearly communicated, will definitely increase call center volumes and decline customer trust. The utility industry is changing, and customer expectations have equally changed. Customers are demanding improved service -- but not at an increased price -- regardless of industry. It would seem that the utility company and the consumer have different expectations, which if left unaddressed would lead to lack of brand loyalty in deregulated states, customer dissatisfaction, and negative word of mouth. But is there a way to bridge the divide?
Throughout many industries, marketers by nature have agreed to be the voice of their customer. It now becomes a balancing act between progressing the company's business objectives with implementing the right programs and products for the right customer segment. Utility marketers alike must now grow and improve their understanding of customer's needs, usage and desires. But how do you drive relevant communications, impact program adoption and assist in reducing the payment cycle, late pays or even no pays? The answer: Precision Marketing, which is a framework that drives the right message; to the right person; at the right time by leveraging transactional data.
Clean energy manufacturing is intensifying across North Carolina as our products are shipped across the country and around the world. Semprius in Henderson (HQs in RTP) and ABB in Huntersville (HQs in Cary) recently held grand opening events for their new manufacturing facilities, which will bring hundreds of new jobs to our state. We’ve also had other exciting announcements in recent months from Schletter, Ming Yang Wind Power Group, and others that are expanding its manufacturing operations.
(Originally printed in the 09/28/12 Charlotte Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/print-edition/2012/09/28/nc-solar-tax-credit-may-be-in.html.)
North Carolina’s 35% tax credit for solar-energy projects — a key factor in the solar boom under way in the state — faces an uncertain future in the coming legislative session, says Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg).
Samuelson, who chairs the House Environment Committee and is a member of the Public Utilities Committee, was a featured speaker this week at the dedication of the 1.8-megawatt solar array Mooresville’s SunEnergy1 built atop Old Dominion Freight Lines’ Vault Logistics warehouse in Thomasville.
Speaking before the ceremony, she acknowledged sentiment inside the Republican Party to eliminate the credit as part of a tax overhaul.
John Downey covers the energy industry and public companies for the Charlotte Business Journal
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