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Income Insights

It’s Not Time to Dump Duke

By Roger S. Conrad on Sep. 22, 2018

Coal ash is back in the headlines. That’s very bad news for Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), which apparently suffered another rupture at a coal ash basin as a result of Hurricane Florence.

The power utility that absorbed almost all of the storm’s fury has done yeoman’s work restoring service to the estimated 1.8 million people in its service territory that lost electricity. Management now expects to restore almost all of the remaining 26,000 customers by Sunday night. That leaves a “few thousand customers” requiring repairs and inspections independent of the utility’s restoration service.

As forecast, the deadliest part of this storm has proven to be its aftermath, as rain dumped in the mountains makes its way back to the ocean. In fact, floodwaters from several major rivers were still rising as of Friday afternoon with potential to wreak even more damage.

The company still faces a challenge restoring output from the natural gas-fired Sutton power plant, which shut down today in the face of rising floodwaters. And several solar farms have been slow to come back on line, largely due to grid related issues.

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