Business briefs

Jun. 28, 2013 @ 09:46 AM

Rally planned against proposed Duke Energy rate hike

DURHAM – Democracy North Carolina, NC WARN and other groups plan to hold a rally and press conference in Hillsborough on Tuesday in protest of a proposed Duke Energy Carolinas rate hike.

The rally and press conference will precede a hearing by the N.C. Utilities Commission to gather public comment about the proposed rate hike. The increase has to be approved by the commission, the regulatory agency for public utilities in the state.

Groups including Democracy North Carolina, Greenpeace, NC WARN and Consumers Against Rate Hikes plan the rally at 5:15 p.m. in Hillsborough. The hearing will be at 6 p.m. at the Orange County Courthouse.

The groups said in a news release Thursday that they believe the rate hike “will gouge customers to pay for power plants that are not needed and that are causing climate change.”

Originally, Duke Energy Carolinas had requested an average increase in retail revenues of 9.7 percent, or about $446 million. However, the public staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission – the group that aims to represent consumers in the state – negotiated a lower increase that would stretch the increase over time.

Durham County average weekly wage up in 4Q

DURHAM – The average weekly wage in Durham County grew 1.6 percent year-over-year to $1,225 in last year’s fourth quarter, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data released Thursday.

The county was closer to the bottom of the list in a ranking of U.S. large counties by average weekly wage change, landing at No. 261 out of 328 large counties in the country for its growth rate in the quarter.

Among the largest counties, 316 counties had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. San Mateo, Calif., had the largest wage increase among the largest U.S. counties with an increase of 107.3 percent. 

Counties with annual average employment of 75,000 or more in 2011 were counted.