Duke Energy Ohio proposes new customer benefits; requests electric distribution rate review as it continues grid, service improvements

– Recommends new features for residential customers, including dynamic time-of-use rates and no-fee payments via credit card, debit card and electronic check.

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 2:35 PM MDT|Updated: 10 hours ago

CINCINNATI, Oct. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As a result of the company’s ongoing investments to improve southwest Ohio’s electricity infrastructure and enhance value to customers, Duke Energy Ohio today asked its state regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, to perform a public review of the company’s electric distribution rates and approve a rate adjustment.

(PRNewsfoto/Duke Energy)

Overall, the proposed adjustment amounts to an approximately $55 million increase. If approved by the commission, average customer bills would remain below the national average. The monthly electric bill for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would increase by 3.86%, or less than 15 cents per day. Nonresidential customers will also see bill impacts of varying degrees.

“We’re working hard every day to keep rates reasonable as we continue making strategic, data-driven investments to improve reliability and protect our system against cyber and physical threats,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky. “And our customers are benefiting from high reliability, better service and more control over their energy use as a result of our ongoing improvements and grid investments.”

Increasing reliability and delivering more control, convenience and choice

Many of Duke Energy Ohio’s investments have focused on the continual buildout of a self-optimizing, smart-thinking grid that automatically isolates issues and reroutes power to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

In addition, the company has installed advanced smart meters that enable customers to access more bill-lowering tools; view detailed information about their energy use; easily sign up to receive usage alerts, outage notifications and customized billing options; and more.

“We’ve been able to make these important and impactful investments and enhancements – all while reducing our operating and maintenance expenses,” said Spiller. “This is a credit to our employees’ incredible focus on being strategic and efficient in the planning and execution of their work.”

New customer benefits proposed

In today’s filing, Duke Energy Ohio outlines various proposals to provide customers more value, choices and convenience when it comes to their electric service. These include:

  • Creating a fee-free payment option for residential customers who wish to pay their monthly utility bills with credit cards, debit cards or electronic checks. Currently, these customers must pay a $1.50 fee at the time of transaction to use any of these payment methods. This fee is administered by a third-party payment processor.
  • Introducing an upgraded, easier-to-use and dynamic time-of-use rate option that provides more opportunities for residential customers to control their energy consumption and costs through the use of popular and emerging technologies like internet-enabled thermostats and electric vehicles. Simple behavioral changes – such as only running dishwashing and laundry appliances at night or on weekends – can also contribute to lower bills as a result of the new plan’s shorter on-peak and discount time periods.
  • Continuing to make annual investments in the local electric distribution system to allow for additional grid improvement and modernization projects. Recent projects have resulted in increased levels of safety, reliability and resilience of Duke Energy Ohio’s system – leading to fewer and shorter customer outages, among other benefits. Ongoing and future plans include additional efforts designed to decrease the frequency and duration of outages and improvements that lay the groundwork for the two-way power flows needed to support emerging technologies like rooftop solar, battery storage, electric vehicles and microgrids.

Duke Energy Ohio in its filing with its state regulator also proposes several changes to its lighting tariffs to enable transitions and upgrades to more efficient fixtures.

Helping customers in need

With many individuals and families experiencing financial hardship and struggling to pay their everyday expenses and energy bills, Duke Energy Ohio continues to support its customers, connect them with available assistance and offer tools and programs – including flexible payment plans – to help manage their energy bills.

The company is reaching out to vulnerable residential customers with information about utility assistance administered by state agencies, as well as local nonprofits across Greater Cincinnati. Additional resources can be found here: duke-energy.com/home/billing/special-assistance/need-help.

Separately, the company has delivered more than $3.5 million in local grants since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on social justice and racial equity; women-, veteran- and minority-owned businesses; nature; workforce development; urban revitalization; and K-12 education.

Additional information and next steps

Today’s filing has no bearing on the electric supply portion of customers’ bills or their ability to participate in the state’s Energy Choice Ohio program to choose an electric supplier.

Duke Energy Ohio anticipates the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to soon initiate a detailed rate review process that will include hearings in Columbus as well as public hearings in the company’s southwest Ohio service territory. Learn more about the process as well as how members of the public can participate in it.

Duke Energy Ohio, which serves more than 735,000 customers in parts of Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Montgomery and Warren counties in southwest Ohio, estimates that its state regulator will rule on the company’s request by summer 2022, with rate adjustments taking effect shortly thereafter.

Additional information about Duke Energy Ohio’s request for a regulatory review of its electric distribution rates can be found at duke-energy.com/ohio-rates.

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to about 870,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to approximately 542,000 customers.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to own or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Lee Freedman
Media line: 800.559.3853
Twitter: @DE_LeeF

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SOURCE Duke Energy

The above press release was provided courtesy of PRNewswire. The views, opinions and statements in the press release are not endorsed by Gray Media Group nor do they necessarily state or reflect those of Gray Media Group, Inc.

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