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.