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Duke Energy subsidiary reaches agreement with ORS and others

Duke Energy Carolinas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (DUK), has reached an agreement with the Office of Regulatory Staff, or ORS, Wal-Mart (WMT), the S.C. Energy Users Committee and the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce concerning the utility's request to raise base rates in South Carolina. The settlement includes a significant reduction in the rate increase to customers, while providing a fair return for the company's investors. Duke Energy originally requested an average increase in retail revenues of 15.1%, or about $220M. Under the terms of the settlement, the increase to the company's annualized revenue is reduced to about $80.4M in the first year, with customer rates increasing an additional $38.2M -for a cumulative increase of about $118.6M- beginning in the second year.