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By Lesley Quick
Vice President of Customer Technology, Advocacy, Regulatory and Business Support

Pepper Natonski
Vice President of Federal Government Affairs

Duke Energy teammates and more than 240 other stakeholders recently canvassed Capitol Hill to garner support for customer assistance funds. It’s the first step in supporting customers who struggle to meet their basic needs. 

From flexible payment arrangements to energy efficiency upgrades, there are many programs to help individuals and families manage their energy use and their bills. In fact, Duke Energy and the more than 1,500 nonprofit and government organizations we work with are committed to helping customers navigate payment and financial assistance options. 

But not all utility customer assistance funding is guaranteed. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is one of the programs whose funding must be renewed annually to continue to make an impact. While LIHEAP funds different programs in each state, they all have the same goal: providing bill assistance to help customers get back on their feet.

That’s why Duke Energy joined organizations from across the country for LIHEAP Action Day on Feb. 7 to advocate for LIHEAP funding in support of our customers. Hosted by the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), this annual event brought together a record number of stakeholders who engaged with members of Congress and staffers to reinforce just how powerful LIHEAP funds can be in the lives of those struggling to meet their basic needs.  

What does advocacy look like in practice?

Teams of Duke Energy employees who support our customers in need visited congressional staff to help educate lawmakers on issues impacting customer bills, company programs offered, and community agency partnerships in support of customers in need.

This year, our employees were joined by representatives from community action agencies we work closely with to connect customers with assistance resources including the South Central Community Action Program in Indiana, Mid Florida Community Services and Crisis Assistance Ministries in North Carolina. These and similar agencies in each state work directly with individuals and families to find the right programs to carry them through uncertain times. Their firsthand perspective on the difficult choices customers face during a crisis underscored the need to fully funding the LIHEAP program.  

LIHEAP is a critical part of our customer assistance model and demand for the program remains high. In the past two years alone, Duke Energy’s dedicated team of customer advocates helped 390,000 customers access nearly $370 million in financial support. By fully funding LIHEAP, Duke Energy and the agencies we work with can continue to offer solutions and support to help customers in need keep their lights on.   

Learn about more ways we’re helping customers with their energy bills