Why your Duke Energy ‘Budget Billing’ may have gone up recently

CHARLOTTE — Tyler Colino says he moved into his west Charlotte townhouse about six months ago.

“Just with the rises in cost for everything, we just figured the [Duke Energy] Budget Billing might be a better choice for us,” he said.

As the name suggests, Budget Billing is supposed to help you budget. You pay Duke a set amount every month. The utility adjusts it every quarter or year, depending on your plan, and it can go up or down. Colino’s went from $83 to $270 per month.

“They just emailed us and said, ‘Hey, you’re getting an increase,’” Colino said. “It’s just crazy. It’s an unrealistic amount in my opinion.”

At lot of times, Duke bases a customer’s Budget Billing dollar figure on his or her previous bills. Since Colino had just moved in and signed up right away, Duke didn’t have prior bills to go on. So the company based his amount on his home’s square footage.

But Duke says his usage ended up being “significantly more” than the “average” for that size home so it raised the dollar figure.

“It’s quite a jump. We weren’t expecting that,” Colino said. “What about low income families? Thankfully, we’re a dual income family. We can afford the increase, but other people can’t.”

So why are other households having sticker shock too? Duke told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke two reasons:

  1. Winter tends to be the most expensive season
  2. It raised rates recently, on Jan. 15. Obviously, it takes a while to show up on a bill. So people would have just been seeing the difference around the time they started contacting Action 9.

If you can’t afford your power bill:

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Kind of monopolizing’: Duke Energy faces pushback over higher electricity bills)