The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved Duke Energy’s plan for a fixed bill offering that will be paired with a demand response program allowing the utility some control over customers’ thermostats during times of peak demand.
“The program will provide customers an option to obtain bill certainty and contribute to the reduction of peak demand, while also allowing income qualified customers the opportunity to obtain a free or discounted smart thermostat,” Duke explained in its petition for approval, filed in June.
To enroll in the My Energy Bill+ program customers must meet several qualifications, including having “a load profile that can be modeled with reasonable predictability,” according to Duke’s petition. They must also have lived in their current residence for the past 12 months, have not been disconnected for nonpayment and have an eligible, internet-connected thermostat.
The utility said it will offer 1,000 smart thermostats free to income-qualified customers and will continue looking for ways to offer additional discounted thermostats and installation through collaboration with partners.
The fixed bill portion of the My Energy Bill+ program is similar to Duke’s Your FixedBill program, but the addition of the demand response means participants will pay a lower “risk adder.”
The adder “is used to compensate Duke Energy for the risk associated with weather-related consumption and non-weather-related impacts,” the utility explained in the program description for Your FixedBill. For the Your FixedBill program, the adder cannot exceed 6% of the bill. My Energy Bill+ customers will pay a risk adder of no more than 4%, according to Duke’s petition.
“It is critical to the program that [a] participating customer’s load can be shaped through utility control of smart thermostats,” Duke said. “Any customer that opts out of the peak usage management events excessively will be removed from the program to ensure the program creates benefits for all customers.”
“The program also helps system reliability and allows Duke to achieve peak demand reductions, which benefits all customers,” PSC Chairman Andrew Giles Fay said in a statement.