Duke Energy Offers Help for Ohio Customers with Higher Winter Bills
Duke Energy has published information summarizing the assistance programs they have available to Ohio customers, anticipating the higher energy costs of the coming winter months. In addition to this they have included a list of local, state, and federal assistance programs, and energy saving tips for lowering winter utility bills.
Duke Energy Assistance Programs
Duke Energy offers a number of assistance programs, including the following:
The 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.
The Pick Your Due Date Program. With this program customers can choose the date they want their energy bills to be due each month.
High Bill and Usage Alerts Program. With this program customers can sign up for energy usage and high bill alerts.
The Installment Plan Program. With this program customers can request a few extra days or restructure their past-due balance into a monthly payment plan.
Local, State and Federal Assistance Programs
There are a number of additional programs offered by local, state, and federal agencies, including the following:
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This 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 Ohio Department of Development at 800.282.0880.
The Winter Crisis Program. This program helps income-eligible Ohioans maintain their utility service when they have pending utility disconnections, current disconnections or less than a 25% supply of bulk fuel in their tanks. The annual program is available Nov. 1 through May 1. More information is available online by calling the Ohio Department of Development at 800.282.0880.
The Winter Rule Program. This program is available between Oct. 18, 2021, and April 15, 2022, and allows a residential customer who is disconnected or has a pending disconnection to pay a maximum of $175 to have their service restored or maintained. A customer may use this option once per winter heating season for their primary residence. Additional information on the Winter Rule Program is by calling Duke Energy at 800.544.6900.
The Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP) Program. This program is an income-eligible program that allows qualifying customers to pay a percentage of their income toward their energy bills, regardless of monthly usage. Additional information is available by calling the Ohio Department of Development at 800.282.0880.
Find more information to help you manage winter bills at duke-energy.com/WinterBills
Low- to no-cost energy-saving tips, & projects.
Duke Energy has also provided a number of energy saving tips to help customers prepare for cold weather and manage energy use, including the following:
1. Identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Install smart thermostats. Install a “smart” or programmable thermostat to reduce your energy use while you are asleep or away.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Operate ceiling fans in a clockwise direction, which pushes warm air back down into the room.
8. Change air filters regularly; a dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.
9. Have HVAC system checked regularly by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor to maintain efficiency and peak-performance.
10. 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.
Duke Energy has also published tutorials on how to install weather stripping on doors and windows, and how to caulk around doors and windows.