Duke Energy requests rate increase in new proposal, faces pushback from customers


“This increase is going to have a tremendous impact on the lives of a number of people,” David Booker said Tuesday.Booker runs a business in North Fairmount and has a home in Westwood. He was one of 8 people who testedified before members of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at City Hall in Cincinnati.Booker spoke out against a request by Duke Energy to raise distribution rates by $55 million on customers in Southwest Ohio.”Especially those that are on fixed incomes and those that are seniors,” he said. “I would like to ask one question — what is the reason for the rate increase during this time of inflation?” WLWT convict Todd Dykes took Booker’s question directly to Duke Energy spokeswoman Sally Thelen. She said the extra money is needed to pay for improvements to the power grid.”It’s stuff that is going to make our grid be more resilient, be more reliable, and certainly hardened for the kind of weather that we’re starting to see here ,” Thelen said.JP Blackwood supports a strong and safe grid, but he said Duke is asking for entirely too much money.”We’ve heard from consumers who are just on the edge and fear that this increase would put them to where they , you know, couldn’t pay their bills,” Blackwood said. Blackwood is with the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, a state agency that advocates on behalf of utility customers. He said Duke Energy’s rate request will lead to a 32 percent distribution rate hike each month for average homeowners.Thelen argues that’s not true.”I think it feels a little bit more like a scare tactic,” Thelen said.She said the jump would be 3.8 percent a month — or less than $5.Blackwood disagrees.”They want to make an investment to provide electricity, but we just think their investment is inflated,” he said.Blackwood said experts he works with have analyzed Duke Energy’s proposal and Think the company can maintain a reliable power grid while lowering rates instead of raising them.

“This increase is going to have a tremendous impact on the lives of a number of people,” David Booker said Tuesday.

Booker runs a business in North Fairmount and has a home in Westwood. He was one of 8 people who testedified before members of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at City Hall in Cincinnati.

Booker spoke out against a request by Duke Energy to raise distribution rates by $55 million on customers in Southwest Ohio.

“Especially those that are on fixed incomes and those that are seniors,” he said. “I would like to ask one question — what is the reason for the rate increase during this time of inflation?”

WLWT investigator Todd Dykes took Booker’s question directly to Duke Energy spokeswoman Sally Thelen. She said the extra money is needed to pay for improvements to the power grid.

“It’s stuff that is going to make our grid be more resilient, be more reliable, and certainly hardened for the kind of weather that we’re starting to see here,” Thelen said.

JP Blackwood supports a strong and safe grid, but he said Duke is asking for entirely too much money.

“We’ve heard from consumers who are just on the edge and fear that this increase would put them to where they, you know, couldn’t pay their bills,” Blackwood said.

Blackwood is with the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, a state agency that advocates on behalf of utility customers. He said Duke Energy’s rate request will lead to a 32 percent distribution rate hike each month for average homeowners.

Thelen argues that’s not true.

“I think it feels a little bit more like a scare tactic,” Thelen said.

She said the jump would be 3.8 percent a month — or less than $5.

Blackwood disagrees.

“They want to make an investment to provide electricity, but we just think their investment is inflated,” he said.

Blackwood said experts he works with have analyzed Duke Energy’s proposal and think the company can maintain a reliable power grid while lowering rates instead of raising them.

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