St. Petersburg, Florida -- Representative Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, has sent a letter to House Speaker Will Weatherford asking that an investigation be opened into Duke Energy's recent decision to extend customers' billing cycles.
Duke Energy has said that, due to customer growth, they must re-route meter readers, which will result in as many as 12 extra days being added to the average bill.
Duke charges $11.34 for every 100 kilowatt hours up to 1,000 hours, but charges $13.70 for every 100 kilowatt hours above that. With the additional days, customers could see their utility costs increase significantly.
In his letter, Dudley asked Weatherford to establish a special committee to address this practice and to protect consumers.
Dudley says, "I don't believe that it is any coincidence that they have decided to make these changes during the hottest month of the year when customers use the most energy. Between this latest stunt and the billions that Duke has taken via the utility tax, I suppose nothing should come as a shock."
He adds, "While these rate increases may be legal, they clearly aren't ethical. I am calling upon Speaker Weatherford to convene a special committee to investigate these types of unscrupulous business practices, and to take action to protect our state's electric customers. We must act now; Floridians literally cannot afford to wait another minute."
Dudley represents Florida House District 68 in the state legislature, covering portions of St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Feather Sound and Lealman.
10 News has called and emailed Duke Energy to get a statement from Alex Glenn, the president of its utility operations in Florida. He turned down an interview request while he was in Tallahassee Tuesday speaking to the Public Service Commission on an unrelated issue.