Main menu


Carmel business owner shocked to receive $117,683 in electricity bill

Carmel — Business owners in Carmel were pretty shocked when they received a six-figure Duke Energy bill in June.

The bill stated that the company owed $117,683 for service from March 7 to June 3.

Over the past week, WRTV Investigates heard from more than 100 Duke Energy customers that their bills have increased significantly this month.

Carmel Countertops co-owner Kathy Laigaard turned to WRTV Investigates Kara Kenney for help after receiving a $117,683 bill.

“I was pretty depressed,” Rygard said. “It wasn’t a good thing.”

Rygard spent five hours on the phone with various Duke Energy representatives.

“I called them as soon as I got the bill and they said this wasn’t right,” Rygard said.

The Carmel Countertops are about 3,000 square feet, and a typical summer electricity bill is about $200 to $300, Reigard says.

Rygard said he has yet to receive an explanation as to how this happened.

She said Duke Energy turned off for five days last Thursday.

“We couldn’t run the business,” Rygard said. “We had no lights. It was hot without air conditioning.”

When WRTV Investigates contacted Duke Energy, a spokesperson denied it.

Carmel Countertops doesn’t actually owe $117,683.

Duke Energy has modified your account.

Duke Energy spokesman Mackenzie Verbknecht said: “We’re looking into whether it happened at the meter or at the back end of the billing process.

WRTV Investigates asked if Duke Energy is looking into whether this was an isolated incident or if the error affected other customers as well.

“There is no evidence that this is a bigger problem and that it affects a broader group of customers,” said Barbknecht. “We deeply apologize for this customer experience.

The Carmel Countertops bill was a fiasco.

But customers of Duke Energy in central Indiana say their bills have increased significantly.

Previous | Duke Energy customers reeling from bills as fuel costs rise

“Sustained prices for fuel to produce electricity are at their highest in the last decade,” said Barbknecht. “Global demand. Labor shortages in mines and railroads are tightening fuel supplies, impacting the cost of electricity produced and what we buy in the energy market.”

Utilities stress that the fuel increase is not permanent.

“Fuel costs go up and down,” says Baabknecht. “We give them to our customers with no markup. They pay what we pay. These are temporary rate hikes.”

Duke Energy also notes that some customers may see more usage reflected on their bills due to hot summer temperatures.

The average temperature of 78 degrees Celsius in July 2022 was three degrees higher than 75 degrees Celsius in July 2021 and three degrees higher than 75 degrees Celsius in June 2022, according to utilities.

Duke Energy says it is taking steps to give customers control over their bills. This includes extending the interest-free payment plan for eligible customers to six months and adding his $100,000 to the Share the Light financial assistance fund.

A Duke Energy spokesperson said eligible customers can obtain funding through community action agencies statewide.

This month’s sticker shock came as Duke Energy asked state regulators to raise rates by 7.2%.

Tips from Duke Energy

  • Replace the air filter regularly. Dirty air filters put a higher load on your HVAC system and consume more energy.
  • Set the thermostat to the most comfortable setting. The smaller the temperature difference between inside and outside, the lower your energy usage and bill.
  • Close blinds, drapes, and curtains during the hottest hours of the day. Keeping blinds, drapes, and curtains closed will help keep the sun’s rays from heating your home.
  • Use ceiling fans in occupied rooms to supplement air conditioning. Make sure the fan is set to operate in a counter-clockwise direction to force cool air into your living space.
  • Grill outdoors. Electric ovens and stoves generate a lot of heat in the room. Save energy by grilling outdoors or preparing meals that require no cooking.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights. Be sure to turn off the lights when you leave the room. The lights give off heat and make the air conditioning system work harder.
  • budget function. Track your usage with the budget alert feature in the Duke Energy app