Here’s What Customers Say About Duke’s Fee Increase & Corporate Accountability

This is the second of a multi-part blog series highlighting comments from South Carolina Duke Energy customers about how Duke's proposed fee hike would impact them and why they are opposed. The comments today focus on customers calling for more corporate accountability from Duke Energy.  Tune into part 1 of this series to hear from customers, especially single-income families and seniors, who just don't have the income to absorb the fee hike, and part 3 to hear from customers about how the proposed fee hike would take away their ability to control their bills. Find the series here: https://cleanenergy.org/tag/haltdukeshike.

Chris Carnevale | March 6, 2019 | Energy Justice, South Carolina, Utilities
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 do more, 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!

“I am on fixed income and can’t take this kind of increase. How about cutting a couple million out of the CEO’s salary.” – Tommy from Sumter

“i AM A SENIOR ON A FIXED INCOME, MONTHLY! DUKE ENERGY ALONG WITH OTHER MONTHLY BILLS NEVER STOP COMING. THIS RATE HIKE IS UNCALLED FOR. tHIS RATE HIKE IS FAVORABLE FOR SHAREHOLDERS’ NOT CONSUMERS!” – Cynthia from Anderson

“It is unethical for Duke to charge for electricity that has not been used. It is difficult enough to pay for the electric that is used and now they are asking consumers to give away money. For What?” – Beatrice from Florence

“We pay enough fees as it is and for the ones that live on a fixed income it is very hard to adjust to inflation as it is without extra fees from Duke Energy. It isn’t like we can shop for a better service. Whatever they impose on us we just have to live with and do without essential things we need such as medicines and food. But yet this does not bother them. They will be on a fixed income one day and will realize how hard it is to live day to day.” – Duke Energy customer who prefers to stay anonymous

“I can barely pay the bill now let alone with the huge price increase they want if they quit paying the ceo 21 million they wouldn’t need a price increase” – Duke Energy customer who prefers to stay anonymous

“This is a prime example of corporate greed and Hurts all of dukes customers. Consumers should not have to pay for poor business decisions by a monopoly who earned billions in profit last year.” – Duke Energy customer who prefers to stay anonymous

“Its not fair to those who pay their bills faithfully to have to endure the hike. I’m single living in a single income family” – Duke Energy customer who prefers to stay anonymous

“The rates are high enough already!!! It would be different if a customer could choose a electric utility service , but they can’t so the customer is stuck because of the monopoly they have created.” – Duke Energy customer who prefers to stay anonymous

“It is not fair to add fees! They already charge so much! It is frustrating as a customer to even think they want more money!” – Duke Energy customer who prefers to stay anonymous

“I don’t want any hidden fees. My bills are enough.”– Duke Energy customer who prefers to stay anonymous

Chris Carnevale
Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Chris is SACE’s Coastal Climate and Energy Manager and South Carolina State Affairs Liaison. His work focuses on building a critical mass of support for…
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