St. Petersburg, Florida -- Thousands of Duke Energy customers are getting billed for an extra 12 days because the utility is reorganizing routes for its meter readers to reduce their travel.
The big problem: The extra days are pushing some customers into a higher rate for their electricity during some of the hottest days of the year. And customers are not happy.
Duke charges $11.34 for every 100 kilowatt hours up to 1,000 hours, but then charges 13.70 for each 100 kilowatt hours above that.
That's what St. Pete resident, Melissa Metcalf noticed when she got her latest electric bill.
"This is one more change for Duke Energy to gouge the consumer!" she said.
Along with the bill: a letter from Duke, saying the company would be extending customer billing cycle.
"August is the biggest bill of the year. Every year it's my highest bill," said Metcalf.
State Sen. Jack Latvala doesn't like what Duke's doing but it is legal -- for now.
"It'll be too late. We can do legislation that you can't do this again, but it won't help people who need their bills paid next month," he said.
But, that means people like Metcalf are still left with a larger bill.
"That whole month will be at the increased rate, and costing everyone a fortune!" she said.
Duke says the bill change is affecting lots of customers.
"I can confirm over 250,000 customers may have additional days on their bill but it does not necessarily mean all will be paying a higher rate," said Sterling Ivey, spokesperson for Duke. "Rates are determined by the amount of electricity used -- up to 1,000 kilowatt hours. While the extra days may push a customer into a higher rate, some customers may already be in a higher rate because of the amount of electricity used."
Ivey said that customers with questions should call Duke at 800-700-8744. He said the company has several options available to assist customers with payments during this one-time billing change.
Click here for more information on bills from Duke Energy.
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