Duke Energy Florida proposal would expand low-income programs

St. Petersburg, Fla. – Duke Energy Florida today filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission to provide additional assistance to customers through the company’s low-income programs.

“Our customers remain our top priority. Duke Energy Florida is committed to assisting all of our customers, especially those who are most vulnerable,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “We want customers to know we are here when they need us most.”

These proposed modifications continue to demonstrate the company’s leadership and commitment to implement innovative energy efficiency and demand-side management programs targeted at low-income customers.

The modifications specifically recognize the economic hardships many customers are experiencing due to COVID and the company’s desire to help its customers reduce their energy bills, as well as provide bill payment assistance.

The filing was part of an 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.”

Duke Energy Florida’s filing will further expand several existing programs that assist lower-income customers.

“Energy justice and economic justice are inextricably intertwined. The measures in this agreement will provide financial support to those most impacted by both the COVID crisis and the climate crisis,” said Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director of the CLEO Institute. “While there is still much ahead to be done, we’re extremely encouraged by the steps taken to ease the energy burden for Florida’s most vulnerable communities.”

Here is a summary of today’s filing:

  • Duke Energy Florida will increase the Neighborhood Energy Savers targeted customers by 5%.
  • The company is also making temporary changes to the approved Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act (FEECA) programs for lower-income customers at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and who have arrearages that are greater than 60 days. In order to provide almost immediate relief to those customers, all eligible 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 second modification to FEECA programs will offer 20,000 assistance kits to provide meaningful energy efficiency savings to customers in need.

“Power disconnects — particularly in areas of Florida most impacted by rising temperatures due to climate change — can be a matter of life or death,” says Katie Chiles Ottenweller, Vote Solar’s Southeast Director. “Nobody should be put in harm’s way because of an unaffordable utility bill. We thank Duke Energy for putting these protections in place and hope other utilities will do the same.”

Complete filing here.

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