North Carolina households, already struggling with the rapidly rising cost of living, are about to get pinched even further courtesy of rising energy bills.

Rates are going up in January for Duke Energy customers in central and western North Carolina.

State regulators on Friday approved a three-year, 14.6% rate hike for customers of Duke Energy Carolinas, which stretches from Durham to Greensboro to Charlotte to the mountains. …Rates will rise 8.3% beginning Jan. 15; 3.3% in 2025; and 3% in 2026.

Duke Energy Progress customers in eastern NC and Asheville were already hit with an 11.3% rate hike over three years, which began in October.

What’s the reason for the significant rate hikes?

Duke said it needs the extra revenue to upgrade the electric grid, improve reliability and prepare for more renewable energy.

My colleague Bethany Torstenson recently reported that “an average American family must incur an extra expense of $11,434 yearly to sustain the same quality of life they had in January 2021.” North Carolinians can hardly afford such a sharp rise in their energy bills on top of that.

Jon Sanders, director of Locke’s Center for Food, Power, and Life, has recently laid out how much more expensive – and less reliable – “renewable” energy is.

Moreover, Sanders has devastatingly shown that even if North Carolina zeroed out its carbon emissions, that would barely offset a tiny fraction of China’s increase in emissions since 2005.

As he concludes, North Carolina’s misguided efforts at reducing emissions are all cost and no benefit: “A state can cut its CO2 emissions from electricity generation down to zero but reap no conceivable benefits from it as emissions are still increasing in most of the world.”

In sum, you’ll be digging deeper into your pockets to pay rising energy bills made more expensive in no small part due to the state’s shift toward more renewable energy, a shift that – as Sanders notes – “won’t affect the world’s climate one bit. It can’t.”