WINTERVILLE, N.C. – One Pitt County town is switching gears when it comes to its electricity.
The town of Winterville has signed an agreement with Florida-based NTE Energy instead of renewing its contract with Progress Energy Carolinas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy.
Winterville Mayor Doug Jackson and NTE Energy CEO Seth Shortlidge signed the 20-year contract Tuesday night.
Town leaders had previously expressed concerns about possible cost hikes from Duke Energy, as the company pays back $102 million in fines and restitution for the Dan River coal ash spill.
Assistant Town Manager Ben Williams says the “looming unknown associated with the fossil fuel coal ash cleanup” weighed heavily on the town’s decision.
The 20-year deal with NTE Energy takes effect in 2018.
NTE Energy is currently building a natural gas electric plant called “Kings Mountain Energy Center” in Cleveland County.
The use of natural gas as opposed to coal increases the savings the town will reap over the course of the deal.
NTE Energy CEO Seth Shortlidge says this private-public partnership is beneficial to Winterville.
“The savings to the city is approximately, slightly more than a million dollars a year,” said Shortlidge. “That will translate into real savings on people’s bills.”
The town of Winterville now plans to conduct a Utility Rate Study in preparation for when the new deal takes effect.