More customers applying for Duke Energy's bill assistance program

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Wednesday, July 20, 2022
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With the economy the way it is and seemingly everything costing more, Duke Energy said it is seeing an increase in customers looking for assistance.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Duke Energy said its grid is holding up well with this hot and humid weather. However, the company did hit two summer usage peaks in June and said that logically, customers are going to see bills increase.

Some people are cranking up the air and ready to pay whatever's necessary.

"I try to keep it cool. I try to keep the AC on," said Garner resident Jonathan Debnam. "I try to plan for it, I budget for it."

Other folks are minding the thermostat.

"It's been just so hot, but I try not to turn it up to high," said Raleigh resident Shirley Brewington.

She is retired and can't afford to see her energy bill spike, she said, so she's making adjustments.

"I can deal with it. I just drink cold water, I need to drink a lot of water and just try to stay cool," said Brewington.

With the economy the way it is and seemingly everything costing more, Duke Energy said it is seeing an increase in customers looking for assistance.

The Payment Arrangement Program is a tool for those facing challenges paying their monthly bill or having difficulty catching up on previous balances.

Duke Energy said more people have signed up for the May-June period.

It was up 2.4% for Duke Energy Carolina customers and 7.5% for Duke Energy Progress customers.

"We have seen a lot of customers taking advantage of that. We saw it during the pandemic when people were struggling maybe with business situations or work situations, and now as some of the moratoriums that were in place during the pandemic against disconnection have expired," said Duke Energy Progress spokesman Jeff Brooks.

The energy company said it's better to reach out sooner than later.

Brooks also offered tips to keep consumption down.

He suggested making sure air filters are clean and blinds are closed throughout the day.

Also, try setting the thermostat a few degrees higher.

"I know that's hard for people because they want to maintain comfort, but you can actually adjust that thermostat higher and use a ceiling fan running in a counter-clockwise direction to create the same sensation of coolness without using as much electricity," said Brooks.

Duke Energy is encouraging folks to sign up for its Budget Billing Program to manage payments so they're consistent.

"That's great for those of us who know what we're going to make every month and have a sense of our budget, and we can better plan and avoid those seasonal surprises that you sometimes see in July and August and September when those energy bills are higher due to seasonal heat," said Brooks.

Customers can now sign up after just three months of living in a home.