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May 11, 1:48 PM EDT

Duke Energy spars with Civil Rights museum over power bills

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Duke Energy spars with Civil Rights museum over power bills

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- The nation's largest utility already turned off the lights during Black History Month at a museum honoring the lunch-counter sit-in that sparked the 1960s civil rights movement.

Now it's threatening to cut off the power altogether if the museum doesn't pay thousands more each month to cover the possibility of delinquent payments.

"Disconnecting a customer's service is the very last step in our collections process and it's an action we never want to take," Duke Energy said in a statement Thursday.

The museum honors the beginning of the sit-in movement, when four black freshmen at North Carolina A&T refused to leave the whites-only lunch counter at the F.W. Woolworth's store in downtown Greensboro on Feb. 1, 1960.

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