Power Grid Cost Deserves Attention
The Laurinburg Exchange posted an opinion article on October 22, 2018 by John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, focusing on Duke Energy's grid modernization plan suggesting that it may matter more in 2019 than all the hot-button issues that candidates use to motivate voters in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Duke Energy's $13 billion proposal to upgrade the power grid that delivers electricity to customers in North Carolina includes burying lines, hardening substations and increasing resiliency. These might be popular ideas in the wake of recent hurricane events, but Mr. Hood reminds readers that billions of dollars are at stake in the outcome. He draws a quote from NCMA President, Preston Howard's recent interview with the Charlotte Business Journal. In that interview, Preston Howard said, "I know Duke takes it on the chin when a storm comes through. But customers have already paid for that infrastructure one time, and now Duke wants them to pay for it again."
Mr. Hood notes that in the absence of free market competition for the distribution of electricity, government must make complex decisions with the best information available to manage utilities. He believes that the 2019 legislative session will include some action on a significantly scaled down grid modernization plan.