Upstate public hearings offer chance for customers to speak out against the unjust fee hike
March 7, 2019 – Customers have begun speaking out in opposition to Duke Energy’s proposed fee hike in South Carolina, which will be on display at three public hearings next week in the Upstate. Before going into effect, the fee hike must be approved by the S.C. Public Service Commission (PSC), which will be presiding over the hearings in order to hear from customers.
Many customers are opposed to the fee hike and are calling on the PSC to stop it.
Duke Energy customer Susan recently said to the PSC: “I am a disabled Veteran living on a fixed income. Tripling this fee is not the thing to do. I am very careful about my energy usage. If Duke needs more money, raise the rates charged per kilowatt hour used so that those who use more power pay more vs punishing those living on fixed incomes who carefully manage their usage and finances.”
Duke Energy customer Mary said: “A 220% increase that Duke Energy has requested is extreme and should not be allowed. No company should be allowed to have an increase of that amount. Individuals on fixed incomes and low income wage earners would be very negatively impacted with the cost increase and they have no way to avoid the cost since this is a necessary service. Customers do not have an option to select or change electric companies so Duke Energy is controlling and taking advantage of their customers. Please stop this proposal from Duke Energy.”
Duke Energy customer Mary Lou said: “This rate hike is outrageous and so high that people like myself on social security will suffer with prescriptions and food and we will not be able to pay for our needed sustaining necessities. Please, please do not go through with the rate increase.”
It is expected that many customers will attend the hearings and speak out with similar comments. A coalition of public interest groups, including AARP South Carolina, Consumer Reports, League of Women Voters of South Carolina, Sustaining Way, South Carolina Interfaith Power & Light, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, encourage Duke Energy customers to attend the hearings and speak up about how the fee hike would negatively impact them.
Background: Duke Energy has proposed tripling the hidden mandatory fee on its customers’ bills—from about $8-$9 per month to $28-$29 per month. Since this “Basic Facilities Charge” must be paid each month, no matter how much or how little electricity is used, customers would have to pay at least $336 per year before even flipping on a light switch. If approved, this would be one of the highest mandatory monthly fees for residential customers of any investor-owned utility in the nation, and would place a particularly heavy burden upon low-usage customers including low-income families, seniors, and those using solar energy or energy efficiency/conservation.
To learn more about the proposed fee hike, please visit https://cleanenergy.org/blog/duke-energy-wants-you-to-pay-more-for-using-less-energy/
For more comments from Duke Energy customers on why they are opposed to the proposed fee hike, please visit https://cleanenergy.org/tag/haltdukeshike
Details: Details on the public hearings are as follows:
Tuesday, March 12, 6:00 pm
Spartanburg County Council Chambers, Spartanburg County Administration Building
366 N Church Street, Main Level, Suite 1000,
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Wednesday, March 13, 6:00 pm
Anderson County Council Chambers
101 S Main Street,
Anderson, SC 29624
Thursday, March 14, 6:00 pm
Greenville County Council Chambers
301 University Ridge, Suite 2400, Greenville, SC 29601
Additional information on the public hearings can be found on the S.C. Public Service Commission’s website: https://dms.psc.sc.gov/Attachments/Matter/33d76414-2e54-4cfa-94c3-9c293e925fca
Media Availability: Representatives of some of our organizations will be present at the hearings and can arrange interviews.
Since 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has worked to promote responsible energy choices to ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. http://www.cleanenergy.org
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit http://www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit member organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. For more than 80 years, our research, journalism and media, and advocacy have led to safer products and fairer market practices. The advocacy division of CR directs our efforts to secure strong pro-consumer policies and practices in government and across industries. http://consumerreports.org/advocacy
The League of Women Voters of South Carolina is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to making democracy work and encouraging informed citizen participation in government.
Sustaining Way is an interfaith nonprofit that empowers individuals and communities using education, collaboration, and workforce development to build a thriving, sustainable community and environment. http://www.sustainingway.org/
South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light is inspired by diverse faith perspectives to respond to climate change and to care for the Earth and all its inhabitants by engaging people of faith to work together for a just and sustainable future. http://www.scipl.org/