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How Stupid Does Duke Energy Think We Are?

 Yesterday my wife and I got a letter only for “select Duke Energy customers” letting us know the exciting news that we were now eligible to enroll in their convenient “Fixed Payment Plan.”

If you weren’t selected for this honor too, here’s the pitch:  You can pay a fixed amount every month for your electric bill based on the average of your energy use.  Presumably, when you crank the AC in August you don’t see a $150 bill.

Sounds good?  But wait – you need to read farther down.  Turns out, “you may pay up to ten percent more than you would have paid under your standard rate schedule plus a $1 monthly administrative fee.”  Somehow, you’ve got to respect the corporate gall to demand a $1 a month charge for paying exactly the same monthly bill but at a higher amount.  Not even Tony Soprano would charge you extra to pay more.

Add in Duke’s accounting savings and the company looks to get a nice rate increase out of their customers who are foolish enough to sign up for this plan.  I guess if kickbacks to big companies don’t work then this is one way to jack up rates for the little guy.  While you might expect me to call for more regulation here, you’d be wrong.  If people are daft enough to sign up for this plan, they have only themselves to blame.

6 Comments

  1. Rob Schofield

    February 1, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Just wait until they ask you to start paying more to conserve. NCPIRG has the scoop here:

    http://www.ncpirg.org/issues/utilities-watchdog-project/promoting-efficiency

  2. Adam Searing

    February 5, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Follow up –

    Duke E sent another flier yesterday asking us to sign up – “you still have time.”

    This one didn’t include any information regarding the higher cost of signing up for the plan. It did let you know there was a $30 penalty for withdrawing however.

    I’d call this mailing very misleading. I wonder if the Utilities Commission can ban this sort of communication if they don’t clearly lay out the increased costs.

  3. Mel Ayers

    February 24, 2008 at 11:27 am

    My wife and I are with Rocky Mount public utilities, and our electric bill for this month is 400.00, I find this hard to believe considering we are not home that much, we are looking for a cheaper way for for power just as everybody else. we are looking at retiring in the near future, so how can we afford this. perhaps you or someone can refer us to a more conserative company, thank you,, Mel & Helen Ayers

  4. Tommy

    April 4, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    North Carolina has no laws to protect the land owners and public areas from utility companies spraying them with hazardous herbicides. It is a discovery process after the fact which is evident at the sites below. The utility companies want the land owners to buy, install, and maintain no spray signs. This is wrong. There are handicapped people, people on fixed incomes, and no one who owns land should be forced by any utility company to buy anything. How much do you think “No Spray Signs” would lower propetry values?

    All people of North Carolina, visitors, and tourist, should have the basic human right to know when being exposed to hazardous pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals in our public parks and when our drinking water is subjected to these also. Duke Energy is miss managing the right of ways across the state. This type of right of way management is a herbicidal and fire hazard. A fire in this type of right of way may bring down the AC power grid across our state. They had to be urged to come back and cut down the trees. This also happened in Chapel Hill and at other locations. Please watch the short video at YouTube below and contact those listed at http://citizens1.wordpress.com who can end all of this without spending one cent. While watching ask yourself if you and your family would want to picnic in this public park area? Would you bring tourist to a public park like this. Please share this information with your email listings. Thanks.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=u1sPFVTwhKw

    http://citizens1.wordpress.com/

    Tommy Walls

  5. Not a sucker

    August 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Progress energy has the same plan too. I wonder how many people get suckered into this. They tried to get me to sign up to pay a constant “average” utility bill which was higher than the amount of my highest bill at peak usage. Let me sign up to willingly pay hundreds of dollars more to them out of ‘convenience’ and while they are at it, they can charge me 10 dollars more a month for an e-bill for my ‘convenience’. Yeah right!

  6. Duke Energy | Trends Pics

    April 5, 2011 at 9:01 am

    [...] How Stupid Does Duke Energy pulse.ncpolicywatch.org [...]