Poll respondents seek more energy options amid rising fuel prices and stagnant incomes
RALEIGH, NC, For North Carolinians the cost of gas, electricity, food and other expenses has risen faster than their paychecks. Last year, North Carolina’s income grew only 3.3 percent per capita statewide, according to a recent report by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis ? a division of the US Department of Commerce. North Carolina’s income growth ranked 47th out of 50 states. Only residents in Maine and Alaska experienced slower income growth.
A public opinion poll of registered voters found that more than 50 percent of people said their electricity rates are too high. Fallon Research conducted the statewide survey of 703 respondents for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). Of the 55.1 percent of respondents who said electricity rates are too high, 27.3 percent cited power companies raising their profits and 24.7 percent cited inflation and the economy for the high costs.
Overwhelmingly, 85.4 percent of those surveyed said they wanted more options for buying electricity from other companies besides their current utility, like Duke Energy or Progress Energy, and 86.9 percent strongly supported legislation that would allow other energy companies to sell power directly to a customer, which is referred to as third-party sales of electricity. Third-party sales of electricity is allowed in at least 21 states across the U.S.; however, is apparently disallowed by state law or restricted by legal barriers in NC, GA, KY and FL, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). Giving customers more options among energy companies and the type of power they purchase would lead to lower prices.
“For the second consecutive year, North Carolinians in all regions of our state have expressed overwhelming support for the increased use of clean energy sources like wind power, energy efficiency and solar energy,” said Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “These results confirm that, if given sufficient options under the law, North Carolina’s hard-working citizens and businesses want to play a greater role in making electricity more resilient, affordable, prosperous and secure for all of North Carolina. As electricity rates have increased over the past five years, these results confirm what we are seeing everywhere, that utility bill-payers are spending their own money to use energy more efficiently and to generate their own power, so they can get control of their energy bills.”
The poll was conducted March 26-29, 2012, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.69 percentage points. North Carolina residents were surveyed via landline and cellular phone numbers on their support or opposition to a number of energy-related questions. Fallon Research is a polling and communications firm that has previously worked with numerous groups in North Carolina, including the NC Realtors Association, Regional Transit Authority and NC Home Builders Association, in addition to political candidates and independent expenditure groups across the nation.
The following are just some of the questions that were asked of survey takers. For more results or a breakdown by media market, contact Amneris Solano, Communications & Government Affairs Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 832-7601, ext. 117. To view all poll questions, visit energync.org.
• 81.4 percent agreed elected officials in North Carolina should seek more renewable energy sources to provide consumers and businesses with electricity
• 75.6 percent said over the past two years consumers and businesses have been paying more for electricity
• 68.3 percent said they continue to strongly support the Renewable Energy & Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law, which will result in our utilities increasing their use of renewable energy and customers’ energy savings to 12.5 percent by 2021.
• 85.4 percent agree there should be more options for providing and purchasing electricity from others to ensure that rates are competitive and that energy providers are responsive to the needs the of their customers and the general public
• 6.9 percent support new legislation that would allow other energy companies besides, Duke Energy and Progress Energy, to sell power and electricity services directly to consumers and businesses in North Carolina to create more market competition
The poll also included questions regarding respondents’ support or opposition to different energy resources to meet the growing needs for energy and electricity to residences and businesses in North Carolina.
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Click here to view the survey results