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Duke Energy Florida files proposal to expand low-income programs


On Thursday, Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, announced it filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission. Accordingly, this proposal will look to provide additional assistance to customers; particularly, through the company’s low-income programs.

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Additionally, Duke Energy Florida’s filing will further expand several existing programs that assist lower-income customers. To read the complete filing, you can click here.

About the proposal

In this way, the proposed plan includes that Duke Energy’s subsidiary will increase the Neighborhood Energy Savers targeted customers by 5%. Besides, the company will make temporary changes to the approved Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act (FEECA).

Therefore, the company will set for lower-income customers at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and who have arrearages that are greater than 60 days.

Worth noting, 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.” 

Lastly, the second modification to FEECA programs will offer 20,000 assistance kits to provide meaningful energy efficiency savings to customers in need.

Reception in Duke Energy Florida

In this sense, Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president, said in a media release; “Our customers remain our top priority. Therefore, Duke Energy Florida is committed to assisting all of our customers, especially those who are most vulnerable.” Moreover, she added, “we want customers to know we are here when they need us most.”

Accordingly, these proposed modifications will look further to demonstrate Duke Energy Florida’s leadership and commitment. Particularly through implementing innovative energy efficiency and demand-side management programs targeted at low-income customers.

As the Company noted in a media release, the modifications recognize the economic hardships many customers are experiencing due to COVID. Besides, Duke Energy aims to help its customers reduce their energy bills, and as a result, provide bill payment assistance.   

Indeed, the filing was part of an agreement between the company and customer representatives of several consumer groups; for instance, including the CLEO Institute, Vote Solar, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Reception in the state

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

Similarly, Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director of the CLEO Institute, noted; “Energy justice and economic justice are inextricably intertwined. Therefore, the measures in this agreement will provide financial support to those most impacted by both the COVID crisis and the climate crisis.”

Indeed, “while there is still much ahead to be done,” continued Arditi-Rocha; “we’re extremely encouraged by the steps taken; particularly, to ease the energy burden for Florida’s most vulnerable communities.”

Finally, Katie Chiles Ottenweller, Vote Solar’s Southeast Director, commented; “Power disconnects can be a matter of life or death. Therefore, nobody should be put in harm’s way because of an unaffordable utility bill. Thus, we thank Duke Energy for putting these protections in place and hope other utilities will do the same.”

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