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Their Own Words: What Duke Energy Customers are Saying

0000016b-01a2-dd13-abeb-61ef5e050000 AARP South Carolina conducted an informal pulse survey regarding the proposed Duke Energy rate hike in the Upstate of South Carolina.  Over 200 people responded and AARP was granted permission to share the comments.   Terri: "I am a 50 year old disabled single woman who has had to seek outside assistance from nonprofit agencies in Greenville County and over the last 4 years since moving to Anderson county have had to seek the same assistance no less than twice per year. These agencies rely on government grants to help the MANY people just like me all over South Carolina who already cannot make ends meet and can't afford to pay our energy bills at the rate they charge now. And believe me. These agencies are jam packed daily from open to close with people needing help. What makes Duke Energy think the people of SC all of a sudden can come up with extra cash to pay higher energy bills when we can't pay the too high rate hikes as they stand now?  This is simply a ludicrous idea. And obviously just a way for big business to stick it once again to the consumer. Please. Stop this travesty before they can do it again."  Douglas: "I am a 70 year old single trying to live on only Social Security.  I cannot afford all the food I need or want.  I certainly cannot afford paying any more for electricity.  I would have to reduce the time that I try to stay cool in the summer to not run the A/C.  Do NOT allow Duke to raise our already extremely high bill!" Debbie: "I am a single 61 year old working woman, have worked all my life since the age of 16 (actually 14 in a peach shed) and have never asked for a dime of public assistance and hope I never have to.  My mom and dad taught me that type of work ethic and they lived it too.  My mom is widowed now and worked in textiles her whole life.  She is 86 years old and struggles financially.  I try to help her as much as I can every month.  I don't know how they expect people to continue paying higher and higher electric bills with small social security checks in her case and wages frozen for 6 years in my case.  Everything goes up but salary."  Keith: "I am a single dad so it can be difficult keeping up with bills, rent and al the other necessities of life.  Higher electric bills would just make it even more difficult."  Deb: "I have a hair studio legally in my home. I have never in my 30 year career had such a hard time making a living. I am falling in a black hole and raising our electric again is not helping me but hurting me!"  Thomas: "I understand, like any business needs to make a profit to survive. However, taking advantage of the elderly people and disable people that are on a fixed income is not the way to do it. Profits are one thing, but excessive profits are outright stealing from the poor to give to the already rich. When will greed be called what it is? I own some duke energy stock and I make a small profit on it, which is plenty. Don't let greed rule your business. A 16% increase is nothing but Greed and totally uncalled for." George: "Sometimes, it's a choice of paying the power bill or having money for groceries and gas for the car. Income is very limited, and there is nothing I pay monthly that is not a necessity for life! This unnecessary increase in utility rates will place an undue burden on lower income families, as well as those who are on a fixed income. The elderly and sick will have to choose between power and other life necessities. Duke Energy already records huge profits, and are being greedy, with no regard for those who cannot afford this proposed rate increase. Any increase will be unfair to any residential customer, but especially the elderly, sick, and low income customers."  Teddy: "We are being overwhelmed in Honea Path with water/sewage bills increasing at an alarming rate every time we turn around.  My bill has doubled since 2008 in water alone.  Now Duke wants to add to our burden by raising our energy rates at another alarming increase at a time when most people's income has not increased significantly at all since 2008.  If Duke is showing such increase in profits, why in God's name do you want to make life more difficult on the average household!!  Our church cannot even respond to all the requests we get needing help with their power bills!  PLEASE RECONSIDER AND STOP EFFORTS IMMEDIATELY TO RAISE OUR RATES AT THIS CRITICAL TIME!!!" Audrey: "I have been trying to use less electricity each month and my bill is still high. I cut the heat down low in the winter and use the air when the temperature is above 80 degrees. The light bulbs have been changed I unplugged everything not being use daily. I have implemented other energy saving techniques and still I am struggling to pay the bill each month. I meet many people who pay more for utilities than rent some months."  Beverly: "I have family members who struggle month to month living on their disability or social security income.  They often worry that they will not be able to pay their electric bill.   Most consumers of electricity if they are working only get a minimum 2-3% raise each year if they are lucky.   How is it fair to ask for such a large increase of 16.3% during a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet.  I also worry for those who will suffer and do without air conditioning in the summer months because they cannot pay their electric bills."  John: "I personally donate money to charities that help people with their electric bills.   If we raise the cost by another %16.3 then there will be more souls that will be in need of help and more donations required to keep these people warm in the winter.  I personally, am doing everything that I can to insulate my home and install 2 & 3 pane windows to lower my electric bills.  With all the money I am spending on energy efficiency improvements, I do not wish to send another 16 percent to Duke Energy."

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