Business briefs

Aug. 21, 2013 @ 05:57 PM

Cooper opposes Duke Energy’s rate hike proposal

RALEIGH – N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has filed in opposition to Duke Energy Carolinas’s proposed rate hike for North Carolina customers.

Cooper announced Wednesday he’s filed a legal brief with the N.C. Utilities Commission, which is reviewing the utility’s rate increase request.

The utility has proposed a rate hike of 4.5 percent hike in the first two years for all customers that would increase to a total of a 5.1 percent hike in the third.

For residential customers alone Duke has proposed a 5.08 percent in the first two years, and 5.8 percent in the third year.

 “People are already struggling to pay their bills and utilities want to raise rates yet again,” Cooper said in a statement. “We’ll continue to fight these increases that fail to adequately take consumers into account.”

Cooper had also appealed a 7.2 percent increase the commission approved to go into effect for Duke Energy Carolinas customers last year.

The N.C. Supreme Court issued a ruling in April requiring the commission to consider economic conditions when setting utility rates for consumers.

N.C. Biotech Center awards $3.58 million in 4Q

DURHAM – The N.C. Biotechnology Center awarded a total of $3.58 million in loans and grants in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year that ended June 30 to support life science entrepreneurs and new technology commercialization efforts.

In the full fiscal year, the center gave out 151 awards totaling $10.7 million. That’s up from the prior year’s total of 127 awards for $8.6 million.

The list of recipients includes the Chapel Hill-based Nova Synthetix, which received a $50,000 loan to help it to get additional financing. The agricultural biotechnology start-up is looking to bring to market a castor-oil plant variety that does not contain a toxin.

T3D Therapeutics, based in the Research Triangle Park, was another award recipient. The start-up, which received $50,000, is developing a therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other central nervous system disorders.

BioKier of Chapel Hill is developing therapeutics for treating type 2 diabetes. The company received a $250,000 strategic growth loan from the biotechnology center.