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Two Duke utilities score well in Southeast, average nationally

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(The Center Square) – Analysis of the nation’s largest electric utilities ranks Duke Energy’s North Carolina operations in the middle of the pack nationally, but better than most in the Southeast.

The 2023 Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard recently released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy analyzes 53 of the largest utilities in the United States based on a wide range of metrics for energy savings and helping customers save on their power bills, particularly low-income households.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit develops policies to reduce energy waste and combat climate change, with a focus on independent analysis to drive investments, programs and behaviors that use energy more effectively.

The analysis ranked Duke Energy North Carolina 30th and Duke Energy Progress 31st, with scores of 29.5 and 28.5, respectively, out of a possible total of 100.

“Energy efficiency plays a crucial role in meeting our nation’s energy needs,” the report read. “It lowers customer energy bills, reduces energy burden, improves in-home comfort, enhances resilience, and improves indoor air quality.”

Both companies received their lowest score of 7 out of a possible 54 for the “performance group” category, which considers net incremental electric energy savings, spending on energy efficiency, and low-income savings and spending, among other metrics.

The highest scores for both – 13.5 for Duke Energy North Carolina, and 12.5 for Duke Energy Progress – came in the “programs group” category. That category awards up to 20 points for energy efficiency programs offered, including programs for low-income customers, as well as transportation electrification.

The report put Duke Energy North Carolina’s total energy efficiency program costs at nearly $56 million, and at nearly $50 million for Duke Energy Progress. That equates to 1.39% of $3.5 billion in revenues from 1.4 million Duke Energy Progress customers, and 1.19% of $4.7 billion in revenues from 2.1 million Duke Energy North Carolina customers.

“I think we have taken energy efficiency pretty seriously,” Duke Energy spokesman Randy Wheeless told The Center Square. “I think we’re doing a lot to help customers take ownership of their energy use … and also to cut their overall energy use if they take advantage of some of our programs.”

Duke Energy North Carolina and Duke Energy Progress ranked the highest in the Southeast region, with the exception of Energy Arkansas’ 18th place. Duke Energy South Carolina ranked 32nd, and Dominion South Carolina ranked 36th, while Georgia Power ranked 33rd. To the north, in the Mid-Atlantic region, Dominion Virginia ranked 27th.

The top performing utility is Massachusetts’ Eversource, which received 85 out of 100 points, followed by California’s Pacific Gas & Electric at 80.5, Masachusetts’ National Grid at 80.5, Commonwealth Edison in Illinois at 75.5, and DTE in Michigan with a score of 73.5.

The worst ranked utility is Ohio Edison with 2.5 out of 100 points. The next worst was Florida Power & Light at 3 points, Alabama Power at 5, Duke Ohio and AEP Ohio at 9, and AEP Texas at 11.5.

By region, the Northwest’s six utilities ranked at the top with an average of 61% of total points achieved. The West’s six utilities averaged 52% of total points achieved, the Midwest’s 12 utilities averaged 38%, the Southwest’s 11 utilities averaged 32%, the Mid-Atlantic’s seven utilities averaged 30% and the Southeast’s 11 utilities averaged 22%.

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