The nuclear crisis in Japan has spooked N.C. lawmakers from voting this year on a legislation that would make it easier for Duke Energy and Progress Energy to raise rates to pay for new nuclear reactors.
That means the earliest the N.C. General Assembly could vote on the legal change sought by electric utilities would be during next year's legislative session, said Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers during a conference call with analysts this morning.
Mike Hager, vice chairman of the House Public Utilities Committee, said the nuclear proposal had enough support to pass until a tsunami disabled Japanese reactors in March.
Hager, a mechanical engineer who worked 16 years for Duke, said state officials should hold off on the nuclear proposal until the root causes of the Japanese crisis are analyzed.
He also said he has misgivings about advancing legislation that could add between $20 and $40 to a monthly household power bill at a time that many North Carolina counties are still racked by double-digit unemployment rates.