Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rates could save customers millions, analysts say

Customers of Duke Energy Progress could save $50 million a year by switching to a little-used rate, says a Wilmington firm that audits and analyzes utility rates.

Utility Management Services says most residential customers with electric bills of more than about $125 a month can save money on the R-TOUD, or time-of-use, rate schedule. The schedule charges more for electricity during weekday high-demand periods and much less at night and on weekends, when there is less demand for electricity.

Most large-use customers realize a net savings -- equal to about one month's bill -- over a 12-month period, according to UMS' analysis. Duke Progress serves Eastern North Carolina and the Asheville area.

Here's the catch: Duke Progress is phasing out R-TOUD for new customers on Nov. 30, and will replace it with a new time-of-use schedule that UMS says won't save customers as much money.

But Duke spokesman Jeff Brooks says the new schedule, R-TOU, has changes that customers will like.

Under the old schedule's on-peak/ off-peak prices, he said, some customers could see their bills actually go up. That happened if they weren't careful to run high-demand appliances such as the dishwasher or clothes dryer at night or weekend off-peak hours.

"The key to any time-of-use rate is aligning habits to the benefits of the rate," Brooks said.

The new schedule's peak, shoulder and off-peak times are intended to send "price signals" that motivate customers to pay attention to their energy use. Those who don't will not end up paying more than if they used a standard rate. "The flexibility will be more attractive to customers," Brooks said.

R-TOUD has been around for 30 years but has only 30,000 customers. Utility Management Services says another 500,000 customers could save money by using the rate.

The company's founder, Brian Coughlin, testified as an expert witness on behalf of business customers during Duke Progress' rate hearing before the N.C. Utilities Commission.


Anonymous said...

What I found laughable is the fact that Duke thinks people will believe that the company wants to save them money. Duke relies on the complete ignorance of the NC utilities commission to make a profit.

Anonymous said...

"Here's the catch..."

There's always a catch regarding anything Puke Energy does.

Anonymous said...

It ashame when your whole check goes to duke engery.And you wonder how you going to get your next meal from.

Anonymous said...

I did a quick calculation on my bill and on average the rate will go up 5.00 and not save money. I read another article of someone taking their breakers offline on all but the fridge and furnace or A/C on peak hours while she is at work and this single ladys went up about 25.00. No I do not believe Duke cares any about savings. What is their incentive. They say less power plants, but I bet they subsidize and use our rates to come out smelling rosey on that too. I almost fell for it. What a JOKE!!!