RELEASE – Here’s What Customers Are Saying About Duke’s Unaffordable Fee Increase

Posted by on March 11, 2019 3:19 pm
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Last week we published a series of blogs sharing stories from Duke Energy customers across the state who are concerned about the utility’s proposal to triple the mandatory, fixed monthly fee on customers’ electricity bills from $8-9/month up to $28-29/month.

You can read a few of the more than hundred stories we’ve received in an excerpt of the first blog below or read each of the three blogs here: (1) Unaffordable Fee Increase, (2) Fee Increase & Corporate Accountability, and (3) Fee Increase that Takes Away Customer Control. 

 

Here’s What Customers Say About Duke’s Unaffordable Fee Increase

Chris Carnevale | March 5, 2019 | Energy JusticeSouth CarolinaUtilities

Duke Energy is proposing to triple the hidden, mandatory monthly fee on South Carolina customers’ electricity bills, from the current $8-9 per month all the way up to $28-29 per month. If Duke gets approval, customers would owe at least $336 per year before even flipping on a light. That’s the highest mandatory, monthly fee of any investor-owned utility in the nation, and it means customers would pay more for using less energy.

Since the fee hike would take away customers’ ability to lower bills by saving energy, it would disproportionately harm low-usage customers, including seniors, low-income families, and families who use solar or energy efficiency.

But this proposal is not a done deal yet. Before going into effect, the proposed fee hike must be approved by the SC Public Service Commission (PSC), which means it can be defeated if we speak up loudly in opposition!

The PSC has scheduled five public hearings throughout Duke’s service territory over the next several weeks to hear directly from customers. We couldn’t wait until the hearings to help highlight customers’ stories about how the fee hike would impact them and why they are opposed. Below are some of the stories from Duke customers we have heard from.

If you are a customer and would like to share your story as well, please fill out the form here.

And if you want to take it to the next level, please make sure to show up to your local public hearing (details here) and raise your voice and let the PSC know that customers need to be able to take control of their bills!

“PEOPLE CAN’T AFFORD IT AND IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME AND MY FAMILY I’M A SINGLE MOTHER OF 3 AND 1 GRAND DAUGHTER AND I’M ON DISABILITY WHERE I DON’T EVEN GET ENOUGH TO COVER MY BILLS SO WHEN I GET MY DISABILITY IT’S SAD THAT MY BILL IS MORE THAN WHAT I GET A MONTH” – LISA FROM SUMTER

“AS A YOUNG SINGLE WOMAN SUPPORTING A HOUSEHOLD IT’S HARD ENOUGH TO KEEP UP WITH THE MONTHLY BILLS OF MY HOME, MY DUKE ENERGY BILL BEING THE HIGHEST. EVERY MONTH I DREAD THE TEXT NOTIFICATION I GET ALERTING ME THAT IF I DON’T PAY SOON, MY POWER WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR DISCONNECTION. HAVING TO GO ABOUT MY DAY, GO TO WORK AND PUT ON A FACE WHILE I HAVE THAT TEXT LOOMING OVER ME IS THE MOST ANXIOUS I GET ALL MONTH. AND NOW WITH THIS PROBABILITY THAT IT MIGHT INCREASE, MY ANXIETY IS AT A HIGH. TO A MAJOR COMPANY LOOKING AT IT, YES, YOU WILL MAKE ALOT OF MONEY… BUT TO A HARD WORKING MIDDLE CLASS WOMAN, IT SEEMS LIKE A BIG CHANGE THAT COULD AFFECT MORE PEOPLE THAN JUST ME. I WORK HARD TO KEEP MY HEAD JUST ABOVE THE WATER SO I DON’T DROWN, BUT I KNOW OTHERS WHO ARE DROWNING AND THIS TYPE OF INCREASE WOULD BE DEVASTATING. MAKING LIFE CHOICES TO CUT OUT NECESSITIES BECAUSE KNOWING YOUR POWER BILL WILL BE EXTREMELY TO HIGH ISN’T THE WAY THE WORLD SHOULD BE MOVING. PLEASE CONSIDER THE LITTLE PEOPLE, WHO ARE JUST TRYING TO LIVE, INSTEAD OF JUST BEING ABLE TO WORK AND PAY BILLS. LIFE IS TO SHORT, AND MONEY IS TO EVIL.” – JESSICA FROM FLORENCE

“WE LIVE ON A FIXED INCOME OF ABOUT 12,000 A YEAR’ BETWEEN RENT, ELECTRIC AND MEDICATIONS, THERE IS VERY LITTLE MONEY LEFT TO LIVE ON. THAT HIKE WOULD HURT US TREMENDOUSLY, PLEASE RECONSIDER. THANK YOU” – DEBORAH FROM SPARTANBURG

“MY HUSBAND AND I ARE SENIOR CITIZENS AND HAVE A FIXED INCOME. WE JUST CANNOT AFFORD ASTRONOMICAL ENERGY INCREASE.” – MARY FROM FLORENCE

 

Read more from this blog and the others in the series here: (1) Unaffordable Fee Increase, (2) Fee Increase & Corporate Accountability, and (3) Fee Increase that Takes Away Customer Control. 

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About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices to ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.