Opinion: Duke energy customers should attend meeting at USC Sumter

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Duke Energy Progress has filed a significant rate increase request to the Public Service Commission seeking to raise our electric bills. The increase if approved will increase the basic facilities charge and increase the per kilowatt charge as well. The facilities charge is one we are billed for just for being a customer. The proposed increase would go from $9.06 per month to $29 per month effective June 1, 2019. That is $348 before even turning on a light in our homes.

The per kilowatt fee would increase in 2019, more in 2020 and add more to every energy bill in 2021. This amount is in addition to the above mentioned "facilities" charge.

The proposed increase will harm every rate payer using Duke Energy and particularly impact low-use customers such as seniors, renters, customers who have made changes in life styles to conserve energy and low-income payers. Many of us seniors depend on Social Security for our main source of income. The increase to Social Security last year would not even cover the proposed "facilities" charge let alone the increased kilowatt charge. Electricity is an essential basic, but so also are food, medical, water, housing, etc.

I encourage all Duke Energy customers to attend the public hearing on Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. at USC Sumter, Nettles Auditorium, 200 Miller Road, Sumter. It is important that we express to the commission our concerns. It is important for us to show the commission that we are against the increases.

DIANA MACRAE

Sumter