Duke Energy is proposing a half dozen new energy-efficiency measures and cash incentives to encourage customers to invest in household upgrades. The incentives range from $30 to $400 and can be used in tandem with state and federal incentives, where applicable.
The Charlotte-based electric utility filed the request today with the N.C. Utilities Commission, the regulatory agency that must approve the measures as sound and worthwhile before customers can take advantage of them. Approval is likely since the measures are comparable to those already offered by Raleigh-based Progress Energy.
Approval would also allow Duke to recover its program costs -- incentives, administrative and other expenses -- from all customers through their monthly bills. The rationale for spreading the costs is that all customers benefit from cleaner air and system-wide energy reductions that reduce the need for building costly new power plants. Energy-efficiency programs are considered the most cost-effective way to manage power demand.
Duke has about 180,000 customers in Chapel Hill, Durham and other parts of the Triangle, amounting to about 10 percent of the company's customer base in North Carolina.
The proposed measures include a $30 incentive to customers who allow Duke or an authorized technician to remove and haul away old refrigerators and freezers. Duke expects nearly 51,000 customers to take advantage of this offer in the first four years it's offered.
The rationale for this incentive is to prevent customers who buy high-efficiency models from keeping the older, less efficient models for use in attics or garages.
Other proposed incentives include up to $400 for attic insulation and duct sealing, up to $200 for duct sealing, up to $350 for duct insulation, up to $125 for a heat pump tune up, and up to $60 for a central air conditioner tune up.
Duke expects more than 3.3 million households to participate in the first four years. The participation estimate means that a number of customers would participate in multiple programs.