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US: Duke settles case over special treatment for $80 million

 |  October 22, 2015

Duke Energy agreed Wednesday to pay $80 million to end a long legal fight over accusations that the company gave secret rebates to big companies at the expense of its other customers.

The deal still needs approval from a federal judge, but the settlement filed in U.S. District Court means residential customers could each receive payments of $40 to $400 from the company while commercial customers could get as much as $6,000 each. About $8 million of the settlement will go toward improving energy efficiency programs.

“This is a great victory for the rate payers,” said Randy Freking, one of the lawyers who filed the class action lawsuit against Duke.

The claims against Duke are based on actions the company took in 2004 while seeking a rate increase from state regulators. The lawsuit accused Duke, which was then Cinergy Corp., of cutting a secret deal with 22 large commercial and industrial clients that gave those customers refunds on their electricity bills from 2005 to 2008.

Full content: The Wall Street Journal

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