Duke Energy Florida proposes steps to offset rate increases by a third

Published on September 08, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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Duke Energy Florida has developed a plan to reduce the financial impact of new rates that go into effect in January 2022 by 33 percent.

The company has proposed several steps, including spreading the recovery of approximately $247 million of unrecovered fuel costs over two years and foregoing immediate recovery of costs related to recent storms, among other actions. Those measures would reduce a residential 1,000-kilowatt-hours (kWh) customer bill by an average of $4.67 per month.

“We’re always considering how to soften the impact on customer bills, so we’re pleased to propose this creative way to reduce the increase by 33 percent,” Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president, said. “We want to deliver real value to our customers, including more control of their bills, a stronger, more reliable grid and cleaner energy.”

With these proposed reductions, the typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh will see an increase of $9.24 in their monthly bill, on average, for 2022. Commercial and industrial customers will see bill increases ranging from 1 percent to 8 percent.

In addition, Duke Energy Florida recently proposed modifications to demonstrate the company’s commitment to implement energy efficiency programs. Specifically, Duke Energy Florida will increase the Neighborhood Energy Savers targeted customers by 5 percent and make temporary changes to the approved Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act programs for lower-income customers. Further, all customers enrolled in the company’s approved Residential Demand Response Program will receive a $30 “assistance incentive” in the form of a gift card that can be used to help pay their energy bill.

The filing was part of a rate mitigation agreement developed with customer representatives of several consumer groups, including the CLEO Institute, Vote Solar, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“Too many families are struggling with unnecessarily high energy bills because their homes lack the basic energy efficiency improvements needed to reduce energy waste,” said George Cavros, Florida Energy Policy Attorney for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “We thank Duke Energy for its engagement with stakeholders on this first step towards addressing Florida’s significant energy affordability challenge.”

New and existing assistance programs are currently available, Duke Energy said, to help customers affected by economic hardships over the course of 2020 and 2021.

Duke Energy also has an Energy Neighbor Fund, which is made up of donations from employees and customers and is matched by the Duke Energy Foundation up to $500,000. All of the funds are distributed locally through social service agencies, community action agencies or United Way organizations to help those in need.