News Release
July 24, 2000

DUKE POWER’S NUCLEAR FUEL COSTS LOWEST IN COUNTRY

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Power saved its customers more than $36 million in 1999 as the company’s fuel costs for the three nuclear stations it operates were among the lowest in the nation for the second consecutive year.

Based strictly on fuel costs, Duke Power was the top-ranked nuclear utility of the 35 utilities that allowed their 1999 fuel cost data to be disclosed, according to information compiled by Nuclear Fuel, a McGraw-Hill publication. While Southern California Edison’s net fuel costs appear lower in the current fuel cost data rankings, its figures include a one-time state tax credit the utility received as part of a court settlement.

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Form 1 fuel cost rankings for nuclear plants in 1999, published in the July 17 Nuclear Fuel, Duke Power's nuclear fuel costs averaged .431 cents per kilowatt-hour across all three plants -- signifying that for two straight years Duke Power’s fuel costs were the lowest of any U.S. nuclear system.

The data shows Duke Power's fuel costs were $36.8 million lower than a comparably sized U.S. nuclear system performing at the median of .498 cents per kilowatt-hour in 1999. In 1998, Duke Power’s fuel costs were $45.7 million lower than a comparably sized U.S. nuclear system performing at the median of .521 cents per kilowatt-hour.

On an individual plant basis, Duke Power's McGuire Nuclear Station ranked number one in 1999 at .417 cents per kilowatt-hour; Catawba Nuclear Station was number two at .429 cents per kilowatt-hour; and Oconee Nuclear Station was number five at .444 cents per kilowatt-hour of the 56 plants disclosing cost data. Some 12 plants around the nation did not disclose their 1999 fuel cost data.

Ken Canady, Duke Power’s manager of nuclear engineering, attributed the company’s success in keeping fuel costs low to a combination of key factors, including good plant operations, efficient fuel cycle designs and effective fuel contracting.

Duke Power’s overall accomplishment is made more impressive when one considers the threshold for the top 10 low-cost nuclear utility systems decreased by approximately 2 percent from 1998 to 1999. In 1998, a fuel cost of .473 cents per kilowatt-hour was good enough to land in the top 10, while in 1999 the 10th ranked system incurred a fuel cost of .464 cents per kilowatt-hour.

"As competitive pressures of deregulation intensify, leading nuclear utility systems will continue to find opportunities for improved efficiencies and reduced costs," said Canady. "We expect the challenges to maintain Duke Power's nuclear fuel costs within this select group will only intensify in the coming years."

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to nearly two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system capability is 19,282 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.

Duke Energy, a diversified multinational energy company, creates value for customers and shareholders through an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. Duke Energy manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses-- generating revenues of nearly $22 billion in 1999. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Tom Shiel
Phone: 704-373-6396
24 Hour Phone: 704-382-8333
Email: tpshiel@duke-energy.com