Duke Energy’s recent ash spill sparked an ongoing debate on how to deal with ash ponds sitting near waterways. Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good wants to pass the costs on to customers, and Republicans are trying their best to protect Duke Energy. Democrats are pushing to prevent customers from having to pay a penny.
As a Libertarian who cares deeply about the environment, I believe that Duke Energy should be allowed to pass the entire cost on to customers on one condition: that Duke Energy’s government-approved monopoly on supplying energy be ended. Once customers begin paying the full cost of the dirty energy they receive, other options such as solar will become more attractive. Instead of ignoring the externalities (water contamination and pollution-induced respiratory illness) till tragedy strikes, Duke Energy should be held responsible for these damages today and, if it so chooses, its customers should have to pay.
In North Carolina, solar leasing options like those offered by Elon Musk’s SolarCity, Sungevity or others are prohibited by law, and Duke Energy has lobbied to keep it that way. North Carolina should not let cronyism and corporatism keep us from attracting innovative energy providers to our state.
JASON MELEHANI, DURHAM
Find the original letter to the editor at: News and Observer