Duke Energy to halt electric shutoffs in extreme heat, hurricane conditions


Following negotiations with Vote Solar, the CLEO Institute, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Duke Energy Florida has agreed to pursue a number of measures to assist vulnerable customers, many of whom are still suffering economically from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among the measures, Duke agreed not to disconnect power due to nonpayment on days when the heat index is forecasted at 105 degrees or when a dangerous hurricane or tropical storm threatens. Unlike many other states, Florida currently has no protections for residents from power shut-offs during extreme temperature days, unless utilities voluntarily adopt them.

Due to Covid-19-related economic impacts, more than 20,000 customers in Duke Energy’s service territory are behind on their electric bills. According to Vote Solar, targeting low-income customers who are in arrears will mobilize clean energy options to help the most vulnerable Floridians get back on their feet and keep future bills down.

Duke also agreed to expand access to clean energy technologies that help lower electric bills for low-income customers. This includes expanding its weatherization program for low-income residences, increasing incentives for low-income customers to take part in demand-response programs, and providing free energy-saving tools like LED bulbs and energy-saving power strips to low-income customers.

The agreement requires regulatory approval, and has been filed with the Florida Public Service Commission as part of Duke Energy’s 2021 rate case.

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