Florence County farmers worry over electric price hike

Pee Dee

Duke Energy has proposed a rate increase for residential customers, and if approved, residents could be paying more for power starting this year. 

Duke Energy customers might be facing a rate increase regardless of how much energy they use, and Florence County farmers tell News13 that this will hurt the agricultural industry significantly. 

“Farmers have had a hard time in 2015 with the flood, a hurricane in 2016, and not to mention two hurricanes in 2018 and some rain that never stopped,” said president of Florence County Farm Bureau, Anthony Ward. 

With recent flooding, several farmers have experienced devastating harvest conditions throughout the years, and now farmers are concerned to hear about the rate hike and additional meter charges that Duke Energy has proposed. 

“If you have a meter, you will see an increase of $240 a year,” said Ward. 

A standard farming operation carries several meters. This means, commercial and industrial consumers would see their bills go up by 8.3 percent and residents would see a 12.1 percent rate hike. 

“That’s nearly three times the amount that it currently is,” said Ward. 

Not only will this hurt farmers, but also people who buy groceries. 

“When you run the farmers out of business, we all know where you have to get your food. You would have to import it from somewhere else, which driving cost and food cost will go up. That’s going to directly affect everyone,” said Ward. 

A public service commission meeting will be held at the Florence County Council Chambers on April 1 at 6 p.m. 

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