A day after he sent a letter to Duke Energy urging the company him to reconsider charging its customers more under a new billing schedule, Republican state Senator Jack Latvala has written to the state’s Public Service Commission asking it to “intervene” in the matter.
As Ivan Penn of the Tampa Bay Times explained Wednesday:
… Duke is reorganizing the way it reads meters. As a result, Duke is temporarily extending its billing cycle, typically a month, by as many as 12 extra days. … The additional days mean that about 267,000 customers face bigger bills
Duke charges customers $11.34 for every 100 kilowatt hours of usage up to 1,000 kilowatt hours. But above that, it charges $13.70 for every 100 kilowatt hours. … Multiply the difference between the standard rate and the higher fee and Duke could collect hundreds of thousands of dollars — for nothing.
The change in Duke’s billing policy is not sitting well with Latvala, one of the leading members of Tampa Bay’s legislative delegation. On Thursday he wrote to Alex Glenn, president of Duke Energy Florida, urging him to drop the new billing program. Latvala followed-up on that letter by writing to Art Graham, chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission.
“Simply put, Florida customers should not have to pay for higher electricity costs simply because the company extends its billing cycle,” writes Latvala.
Writing that the PSC has a responsibility to ensure that electricity rates are fair and reasonable, Latvala urges the Commission to “take immediate action” to change the new policy.
A Duke spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Times that the utility is only following state rules. Customers should contact customer service for assistance if they have trouble making payments because of the change, she said.
Also on Friday, Duke Energy issued a robocall alerting customers to the changes to the billing period and the possibility of a “one time adjustment”: