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Friday, October 29, 2021

Duke Energy Prepares Customers for Higher Winter Energy Bills

 
Are you ready for winter energy bills? Duke Energy can help.

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With seasonal cold weather on the horizon and an increase in the cost of energy across the globe, Duke Energy is reminding Ohio and Kentucky customers of available tips, tools and assistance programs to help them prepare for higher winter bills.

"We recognize we still are in challenging economic times and approaching cold weather and higher energy prices could create additional hardships on our customers,” said Amy Spiller, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “The increase in fuel prices is set by the market and passed through to customers with no markup. We know affordability is important to our customers, and we want to highlight steps we can all take now to reduce energy usage and better manage bills."

Low- to no-cost energy-saving tips and projects


Natural gas use typically spikes in the winter as customers combat low temperatures to stay warm. Electric customers are affected by the increased cost of natural gas to fuel power plants. Below are tips to help customers prepare for cold weather and manage energy use.

  • Learn how to reduce energy use. The first step to reduce energy use in your home is to identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements. This can be accomplished through a certified auditor or by performing your own energy audit.

  • Seal air ducts. Make sure the air ducts from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner are properly sealed. Ducts that leak into the attic or crawl space can substantially increase your heating and cooling bills.

  • Seal your home. One of the quickest energy-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. This can save 10% to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.

  • Install smart thermostats. Install a “smart” or programmable thermostat to reduce your energy use while you are asleep or away.

  • Manage water heating. Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or consider installing an on-demand or tankless water heater that only heats water when you need it.

  • Consider insulation. Consider whether you need to add insulation to your ceiling, floors, and walls. Insulation between the indoors and outdoors reduces energy demand, saving you money while improving the comfort of your home.

  • Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.

  • Change air filters regularly; a dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.

  • Have HVAC system checked regularly by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor to maintain efficiency and peak-performance.

  • Leave drapes or blinds open during sunny winter days to allow the sun to warm the house. Close them at night to help insulate your home.

Check out these easy tutorials on how to install weather stripping on doors and windows here, or how to caulk around doors and windows.

Here are some of the Duke Energy programs that could help you manage your monthly bills:

Budget Billing Program

This free service helps customers manage their budgets by eliminating high spikes in winter bills. The Budget Billing program levels out a customer’s energy bills, allowing them to pay a predictable, equal monthly amount to help avoid billing surprises. Duke Energy determines this payment by adding up a customer’s annual usage and then dividing it into the same payment amount each month. Learn more here.

Pick Your Due Date

With Duke Energy’s Pick Your Due Date (https://www.duke-energy.com/home/billing/pick-your-due-date), customers can choose the date they want their energy bills to be due each month.

High Bill and Usage Alerts

Take more control of monthly bills by signing up for energy usage and high bill alerts. Click here for more information on the programs.

Installment Plans

Helpful options are available for customers to request a few extra days or to restructure their past-due balance into a monthly payment plan. Customers can learn more about the options available to them by visiting https://www.duke-energy.com/home/billing/special-assistance/payment-arrangements or calling Duke Energy at 800.544.6900.

Local, State and Federal Programs for Customer Assistance


Customers who may not have qualified for assistance in the past may now qualify for local, state and federal programs due to expanded eligibility criteria during the pandemic. Increased levels of assistance also may be available for those who qualified and have already received assistance.

For Kentucky

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP is an income-based program that allows those earning below certain thresholds to qualify for federal energy bill assistance money. Duke Energy customers can get more information, learn how to qualify and apply for funding by calling the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services at 800.456.3452 or visiting https://www.duke-energy.com/home/billing/special-assistance/low-income-home-eap.

WinterCare Energy Fund

WinterCare is a Duke Energy-sponsored program administered by the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission (NKCAC). Eligibility for WinterCare assistance is determined, in part, by household income. The NKCAC will take applications for WinterCare each year until funds are depleted. For additional information, or to apply for assistance, please call the NKCAC at 859.581.6607. Or find the telephone number for the county in which you live online at https://www.nkcac.org/.

Duke Energy Weatherization Program

Weatherizing your home can help lower heating costs by keeping cold drafts out and reducing the amount of warm air that escapes. People Working Cooperatively manages the enrollment and qualification of Duke Energy customers for free home weatherization improvements. To apply, call 859.331.1991.

Community Resources

Community Action Agencies
– Emergency funds may be available for utility bills through local Northern Kentucky Community Action Commissions. Find out more by calling the agency in your area.

United Way – While United Way does not have funds available to meet utility needs, it can refer you to other organizations that may provide help with your utility bill or other needs. To learn about agencies that serve your area, please visit 211.org online.

The following agencies may also be able to provide assistance:
  • Brighton Center, 859.491.8303
  • The Salvation Army, 859.261.0835
  • Boone County, 859.586.9250
Find more information to help you manage winter bills at duke-energy.com/WinterBills.

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky


Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to about 870,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to approximately 542,000 customers.

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the Foundation can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.

 

 

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