Duke Energy Ohio Disputes Misleading Claims on Gas Rate Increase May 29, 2008
Duke Energy Ohio today disputed misleading information from the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel on the Duke Energy gas rate increase approved yesterday by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Consumers’ Counsel continues to complain about an increase in the fixed charges for gas delivery service without factoring into commensurate decreases in other charges. In its news release yesterday, it cites a 300 percent increase in the monthly fixed charge, but fails to point out that the per unit delivery charge is going down. No customer is going to pay 300 percent more next year for natural gas.
For a typical customer using 6,700 cubic feet of gas per month, the total bill will go from $104. 39 currently to $107.74 next month and then to $108.42 in June 2009, based on current natural gas costs. That total increase is less than 4 percent.
The PUCO moved some of the charges that have been in the volumetric portion of the bill to a monthly fixed charge, while reducing the charge for each unit of gas consumed. This approach will lower winter bills, when natural gas usage is the greatest and bills peak. Summer bills will increase, when natural gas use is lowest.
The new total fixed charge will be $15 through September, then $20.25 from September through May 2009 and then will move to $25.33 in June 2009. The usage based gas delivery charge, which is $0.186 per hundred cubic feet today, will go down to $0.107 through May 2009 and then down to $0.041 in June 2009.
“By emphasizing only one portion of the delivery charge, Consumers’ Counsel is confusing customers and the news media,” said Sandra Meyer, President of Duke Energy Ohio. “Consumers’ Counsel apparently believes that lowering bills for customers in the winter is a bad thing. We fail to see their logic.”
The PUCO also approved a new program to assist customers below 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline who are not on the Percentage of Income Payment Plan and increased funding of Duke Energy’s low-income weatherization program from $2 million per year to $3 million.
Duke Energy’s Ohio operations deliver safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 680,000 electric customers and natural gas service to approximately 420,000 customers.
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, supplies and delivers energy to approximately 4 million U.S. customers. The company has approximately 36,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Midwest and the Carolinas, and natural gas distribution services in Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4,000 megawatts of electric generation in Latin America, and is a joint-venture partner in a U.S. real estate company. 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.