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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Duke Energy has asked state regulators for an increase in what it charges you for power. 

The company made the request back in July, and by state law the company has to take part in public forums across the state to hear from Hoosiers about how you feel about the proposal. 

The plan is to bump energy rates for Duke customers by 17-percent, which is around 24 extra dollars on your monthly bill. It was not a welcome idea in Terre Haute last night. 

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“Duke customers need to ask themselves why does a company as financially healthy as Duke Energy need a rate increase to begin with,” said Kerwin Olson, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition of Terre Haute.

Olson added that Duke is seeing “record stock prices and enormous dividend and profits.” Stan Pinegar is president of Duke Energy Indiana. He said at that forum it’s for many reasons.

“We’ve added over a hundred thousand new customers since out last rate case in 2004,” he said. “That’s the size of a fairly good sized city in Indiana and it takes a lot to serve an extra hundred thousand customers.”

He also said the extra funds would help the energy company move away from coal.

“We’re currently 90-percent dependent on coal for our statewide generation,” Pinegar added. “We need to diversify that portfolio a bit.”

Several people who showed up to the forum, which was a legal proceeding, testified against the increase. Many said it would be too much to pay for people on a fixed income or who live pay check-to-pay check.

(PHOTO: Gerard Burkhart/Getty Images)