Duke Energy Gives $2.5 Million to Low-Income Energy Fund
INDIANAPOLIS AND PLAINFIELD, Ind. — Duke Energy Indiana is making more energy assistance funds available to help its customers through the upcoming winter. The funds are part of an agreement approved by state regulators.
Duke Energy Indiana has made the first of five, $500,000 contributions to the state to be distributed to low-income customers. The funds are part of a merger-related agreement reached with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC), the staff of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) and the PSI Industrial Group in December 2005. Indiana state regulators approved the agreement in March and Cinergy and Duke Energy completed their merger in April.
The agreement specified that Duke Energy Indiana would make an annual contribution of $500,000 for five years to the fund. The company is also contributing an equal amount for clean coal technology research at Purdue University. The contributions continue until 2010. Also part of the agreement was $40 million in rate credits over one year to Duke Energy Indiana customers. Customers began receiving those credits in June.
“The combination of customer rate credits and a contribution to these worthy funds helps get our merger off to the right start,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Jim Stanley. “Because of merger savings, we expect customer rates to be about 3 percent lower than they would have been without the merger.”
“The energy assistance contributions will directly benefit consumers who need help the most, while the contributions toward coal technology research will benefit everyone,” said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor Susan L. Macey.
The state Energy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to qualifying households to maintain utility services during the winter heating season. Eligible Duke Energy Indiana consumers will receive an additional $100 in assistance through Indiana Community Action Agencies at the same time that the Energy Assistance Program dollars are distributed. There is not a separate application process. When a customer applies for EAP money, his or her eligibility is automatically reviewed for the Duke Energy money. To receive the additional Duke Energy funds, customers must be at least 60 years of age or disabled and meet federal income guidelines. The funds are limited, so the agencies will also try and direct the Duke Energy funds to the neediest meeting the eligibility requirements.
Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in the Americas, including 28,000 megawatts of regulated generating capacity in the United States. Duke Energy’s Indiana operations provide 7,200 megawatts of safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 750,000 electric customers, making it the state’s largest electric supplier. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the state agency that represents the interests of Indiana’s residential, commercial and industrial utility consumers in state and federal. More information regarding the agency – along with a wide range of free consumer publications on utility services and issues – can be found online at www.IN.gov/OUCC.