Duke Energy Seeks 15 Percent N.C. Rate Hike

By Bruce Henderson Duke Energy to offer employee buyouts Duke Energy filed Friday for an overall 15 percent rate hike, its largest such request in North Carolina in at least 20 years. It’s the second of three increases Duke plans to seek as it rebuilds its aging fleet of power plants. Duke also gave notice Friday that it will soon file a rate case in South Carolina. Consumer advocates and customer groups attuned to the state’s soft economy will try to pare down Duke’s request. A hearing before the N.C. Utilities Commission is expected in Raleigh in late November. Duke serves 1.8 million N.C. customers, most of them in the state’s western half. N.C. residential rates would go up 17 percent, adding $19 to the average $97 monthly bill. Commercial and industrial rates would rise 14 percent. “It’s huge. It’s a lot larger than any request that we’ve seen in a while,” said Ralph McDonald, a Raleigh attorney who represents industries. Three-fourths of the $646 million in new revenue a year would be used to cover Duke’s $4.8 billion in building costs since 2009. Duke plans to retire 38 old coal- and gas-fired generating units by 2015 as environmental standards...

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Three Ways to Detect and Fight Mold in the Home

Heavy rains and water leaks can lead to mold and mildew problems at home. But what do you do when the worst happens? September is National Mold Awareness Month, and the nonprofit Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics recommends consumers be vigilant about preventing mold, dealing with it immediately after it occurs and choosing cleaning products wisely. “Mold represents a health risk, especially for the approximately 50 million people in the U.S. affected by allergies,” said Nancy Sander, president of AANMA. Bleach and other toxic cleaners used to kill mold spores are known to trigger asthma and upper respiratory symptoms. “Mold is a serious issue … Mold thrives in moisture, and in addition to the excess water from storms … high humidity helps promote mold growth,” said Eric Green of Planet People, the manufacturer of Concrobium Mold Control, an EPA-registered, 2-in-1 solution that eliminates mold and prevents it from returning, with zero bleach, ammonia or harmful chemicals. Experts recommend: Detect it: To prevent mold, you must stop water from getting inside your home. Keep an eye out for leaking roofs, cracked foundations, clogged drains and faulty plumbing. Regularly check around kitchen and bathroom sinks, refrigerators and attics. Dry it:...

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