WJTV News Channel 12 - Duke Energy billing change making Florida consumers upset

Duke Energy billing change making Florida consumers upset

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Duke Energy customers in Florida are a little hot this month, and not just because of the weather.

Duke is changing it's billing cycle and adding up to 12 days to customers bills.

Duke says it is rerouting their meter readers to make shorter trips.

The change is causing some bills to go up.

"Another two weeks, that's a lot of energy," Said Duke customer Peggy Goodale.

A number of Duke customers are angry about the change.

Carolyn Davenport contacted Eight on Your Side when she noticed a change in her bill.

"I just want them to bill the normal rate,"said Davenport.

Duke charges consumers a higher rate if their bill exceeds 1000 kilowatt hours.

The longer billing cycle is pushing some consumers into the higher rate.

Nancy Blount of Seminole was stunned when she opened her Duke Energy power bill. “It was a great shocker. I immediately looked at it to see why it was so much higher,” she said.

This time of year, the Blount family Duke Energy bill runs around $500 per month. But her latest statement shot up to more than $800.

It includes an extra nine days of charges, billed at the higher rate for those who use more than a thousand kilowatts per billing cycle.

“I know that it was legal for them to do that, but I don't think that it was the right thing for them to do,” said Blount
.

"This little tweak that Duke has designed has the potential of taking millions of dollars," said Florida Representative Dwight Dudley.

Dudley is calling for a full investigation of Duke Energy.

" Let's place some of the executives under oath and have them testify about this scheme to take millions of extra dollars from consumers."

Dudley Believes Duke purposefully made the billing change at the hottest time of the year in Florida to raise the most money.

Duke Energy Spokesperson Sterling Ivey issued a statement late Friday on the issue:

"We understand the frustration and confusion our customers are experiencing in relation to our reroute project and we are reviewing all our options to assist affected customers. We hear their concerns and will work to improve the customer experience for similar projects going forward.

We will continue to stay engaged with customers impacted by this reroute and have several billing programs available to assist customers as it relates to this project and normal usage related to warmer weather and encourage any customer interested in discussing their bill to contact us 800-700-8744."

Copyright WFLA 2014.  All rights reserved.

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