Launching today: Energy Freedom for North Carolina

December 18, 2023


  • Lighting the Way focuses on reform for North Carolina’s energy sector
  • The monopoly electricity utility model is obsolete and holds back consumer choice
  • North Carolina should reform its energy policy around a focus on reliability, affordability and sustainability


Barely a year ago, as millions of North Carolinians prepared to celebrate Christmas Eve 2022, they were instead left scrambling to heat their homes, power their devices, or even turn on the lights. With no warning, Duke Energy, the state’s energy monopoly, initiated rolling blackouts that lasted from hours to days for consumers in different areas. For many, the experience was inconvenient (and cold); for others, it was far more serious. Later investigation revealed that Duke Energy’s natural gas and coal plants had failed in cold weather, laying bare how the company’s over-reliance on fossil fuels and poor planning had resulted in preventable power shortages.

Clearly, North Carolina’s energy posture can do better. Today, just in time for the one-year anniversary of Duke Energy’s 2022 blackout, Carolina Forward is releasing our full policy whitepaper looking at North Carolina’s energy policy.

Lighting the Way: Electricity, the Future, and Freedom of Energy for North Carolina examines how the legacy monopoly utility model that North Carolina and many other southeastern states uses can be upgraded and improved to keep up with modern needs. We focus on the concept of “energy freedom” – giving North Carolina energy consumers more choice in who to purchase energy from, and from what sources. We also highlight ways in which the monopoly utility model, which originated in a much earlier era, has failed to keep up with the needs and realities of a modern state, and now ill-serves our people in demonstrable ways.

Using case studies from around the country, we examine how other states and regions have transformed their energy grids to become more reliable and affordable for consumers, while also prioritizing energy sustainability for future generations. We also propose regulatory and policy changes to provide more accountability for their energy utilities, and to give North Carolinians themselves stronger representation in how energy policy that affects our state is made.

Help build progress for North Carolina.
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PO Box 452, Carrboro, NC 27510

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