Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Approves Duke Energy Ohio Electric Distribution Rate Case Settlement July 8, 2009
Duke Energy Ohio announced today that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved the settlement agreement that establishes distribution rates for the company's Ohio customers.
The settlement was previously reached in March with most intervening parties, the PUCO staff and the Ohio Consumers' Counsel. The distribution rate is one component of a typical residential customer's electric bill. Distribution charges cover the cost of building, operating and maintaining the system that delivers electricity to customers' homes and businesses.
Under the terms of the settlement, the base cost for distribution service will increase by approximately 3 percent of the total bill annually for residential customers. The settlement is equal to 64 percent of the company's original filing and approves a mechanism for Duke Energy to recover costs related to last September's wind storm, but does not approve a specific amount. The company would have to file a separate application to recover storm costs.
"The approved agreement will continue to allow us to make investments in the
maintenance of our delivery system," said Julie Janson, president of Duke Energy Ohio. "We have made every effort to cut operating costs by freezing non-union salaries, renegotiating supplier contracts and cutting employee travel, but this funding was essential for us to continue to deliver electricity safely and reliably."
From June 2005 until March 2008, Duke Energy Ohio invested more than $235 million for reliability improvements and in the expansion of its system to meet new customer demands, including new substations and distribution circuits. The approved rate change will address the additional investment.
Under the terms of the settlement, the typical monthly cost for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours will be $125.05, compared with the current monthly bill of $121.86. Duke Energy plans to implement the rate change Monday, July 13. Customers' bills will reflect the old rate until Monday and will then be pro-rated with the new rate for the rest of July.
Under the terms of the approved settlement, Duke Energy will contribute $480,000 annually to reduce low-income residential bills. Under the Residential Low Income program, up to 10,000 customers who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and do not participate in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), are eligible for a $4 per month credit to their bill.
People Working Cooperatively will receive $200,000 per year for four years towards a study to design, test and manage home energy improvements, focusing on critical home repairs and efficiency programs for low-income and elderly residents. Also, the Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy will receive $50,000 per year for four years to administer and advance low-income assistance programs.
Duke Energy Ohio recognizes the impact of higher electric prices on its customers and offers energy efficiency programs, bill management assistance and energy usage information for both residential and nonresidential customers, which are available on its Web site, www.duke-energy.com.
Duke Energy Ohio's operations provide electricity to approximately 690,000 customers and natural gas service to approximately 425,000 customers.
Duke Energy is the third largest electric power holding company in the United States, based on kilowatt-hour sales. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky – representing a population of approximately 11 million people. Duke Energy's commercial power and international business segments operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, 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.