Duke Energy launches $20 million assistance program for income-qualified customers in North Carolina

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RALEIGH, N.C. - As many as 4,000 households across the state could soon be eligible for an energy makeover, courtesy of Duke Energy.

The company has announced the launch of its Helping Home Fund, a $20 million program authorized through an agreement with the N.C. Public Staff and approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission during the 2013 Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas rate cases.

As part of the one-time agreement, each utility will distribute $10 million through the program.

Duke Energy’'s Helping Home Fund will provide income-qualified customers with up to $10,000 in energy efficiency upgrades at no cost to the customer. Funds for the program will come from Duke Energy shareholders, and not through customer rates.

"Helping all of our customers save energy and money is very important to Duke Energy," said Paul Newton, Duke Energy state president – North Carolina. "These funds will provide energy-saving measures at no charge to customers who may not otherwise be able to afford them. Duke Energy's Helping Home Fund will bring real help to our customers, and real benefits for years to come."

The program will be available to customers who meet U.S. Department of Energy criteria as being income-qualified, with household income at 200 percent of federal poverty levels.

Duke Energy has contracted with the N.C. Community Action Association to serve as the administrator of the program. The association will work with agencies and non-profits across the state to distribute funds for energy-efficiency work beginning as early as January 2015. Program information will be available for customers through local participating agencies in January.

Measures may include weatherization upgrades, heating and cooling system replacements, appliance replacements, and health and safety upgrades to customers' homes. An energy assessment of the home will help to determine which measures are most appropriate.

Customers will also receive information on their home’'s energy use and strategies to save energy.

Duke Energy's Helping Home Fund will be allocated as follows:

Duke Energy Progress

  • $3 million – Weatherization measures, health and safety upgrades, and appliance replacements

  • $7 million – Heating and cooling system replacements

Duke Energy Carolinas

  • $3 million – Health and safety upgrades and appliance replacements

  • $7 million – Heating and cooling system replacements

Weatherization measures are already funded for Duke Energy Carolinas customers through a new efficiency program that will launch in January, and will also be administered by the N.C. Community Action Association.

In addition to assistance provided through Duke Energy's Helping Home Fund, the company provides weatherization upgrades at no cost to income-qualified customers through the Neighborhood Energy Saver program and Residential Neighborhood Program.

The programs have installed energy-saving measures in nearly 24,000 homes in North Carolina since 2009.

Duke Energy's Energy Neighbor Fund and Share the Warmth programs have also provided millions of dollars in assistance to help pay energy and heating costs for thousands of customers across the state. And more than $13 million in funds were made available to assist customers in need as part of the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.