Authority could mean lower wholesale rates for 19 cities in central and western North Carolina
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA [June 23, 2021]— On Tuesday, the North Carolina General Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 323, a bill that would give the 19 cities and towns that comprise N.C. Municipal Power Agency Number 1 (NCMPA1) the authority to invest NCMPA1’s nuclear decommissioning fund through a combined fund managed by North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell. The result could mean a decrease in wholesale electric rates for NCMPA1, which is a co-owner of the Catawba Nuclear Power Station in York County, S.C.
“Today is a great day for the 19 cities and towns that participate in N.C. Municipal Power Agency Number 1,” said Roy Jones, CEO of ElectriCities, the membership organization of municipally owned electric utilities that includes the 19 NCMPA1 municipalities. “I want to thank House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger, along with our bill sponsors, for making this legislation a priority and for their continued support of public power communities.”
As with all nuclear station owners, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the establishment and maintenance of a decommissioning fund to restore a site once a nuclear plant is closed. Similar to a pension fund, funds must be accumulated through member contributions and investment earnings to meet projected costs. The contributions are ultimately paid for by NCMPA1 member ratepayers.
The bill could lead to lower wholesale electric rates, assuming current assumptions of revenue, cost, and projected and actual market returns hold true. It would allow the power agency to invest the decommissioning fund in the existing Ancillary Governmental Participant Investment Program (AGPIP) managed by the state treasurer. The expanded range of investment options available through AGPIP would provide NCMPA1 the opportunity to earn higher returns in the fund.
“We appreciate the support and guidance of Treasurer Folwell during this process,” Jones said. “Mr. Folwell has long been a friend to public power communities in North Carolina, and we thank him for his continued support.”
The 19 member cities of NCMPA1 are Albemarle, Bostic, Cherryville, Cornelius, Drexel, Gastonia, Granite Falls, High Point, Huntersville, Landis, Lexington, Lincolnton, Maiden, Monroe, Morganton, Newton, Pineville, Shelby, and Statesville.
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About ElectriCities of North Carolina
ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., is the membership organization that provides power supply and related critical services to over 90 community-owned electric systems in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia—collectively known as public power. ElectriCities manages the power supply for two power agencies in North Carolina and provides technical services to assist members in operating their electric distribution systems. ElectriCities also helps these locally owned and operated public power providers thrive today and in the future by delivering innovative services, including legislative, technical, communications, and economic development expertise.
Visit www.electricities.com to learn more about the benefits of public power and how ElectriCities helps communities keep the lights on through access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy.
VP, Communications, ElectriCities