Utility Costs to Rise Dramatically for the University

October 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Duke Energy has just received approval for a 6.7% fuel adjustment charge effective immediately.  This translates into an approximate annual increase of $88,000 to the university’s utility bill.

Duke has also requested a 15% average rate increase that is currently under review by regulatory agencies.  Public hearings on this increase are expected to be held this fall, with the increase becoming effective early next calendar year.  Historically, approval of rate increases is lower that what is requested – assuming the approved rate increase is 10%, the university’s annual utility bill will increase another $130,000 to $140,000, bringing the total annual increase to over $210,000. 

In Facilities Management, we have several projects implemented and planned as funding is available to make more efficient use of our energy.  Savings from past projects have helped reduce the impact of previous rate increases and increased energy usage on campus.  But changes to equipment, etc., are not sufficient to do it all. 

Each of you can help reduce the impact of the rate increases by doing some simple things: 

·         Turn off lights whenever you leave an office, classroom, or any space, even for a short time.  If you walk by a room and the lights are on, and there is no obvious use of the room, turn them off.

 ·         Turn off your computers, monitors, printers, and other equipment at night and over the weekend.

 ·         Abide by the University Energy Policy temperature settings of 76 degrees for cooling and 68 degrees for heating  (remember that these are average temperatures in an area, and depending on the building, we may have to make adjustments to keep all spaces at these temperatures – you can help by minimizing requests for settings far outside these settings). 

The policy is available here:  http://www.uscupstate.edu/uploadedFiles/Campus_Services/Special_Events/Sustainable%20Energy%20Policy.pdf

 While these may not seem like much, it all adds up quickly considering the size of the campus. This chart that the State Energy Office provided shows the impact on costs when heating and cooling settings are adjusted.

Thank you for your help with an issue that impacts each of us in many ways, ranging from comfort and convenience to dollars that can be used for other university needs if they are not spent paying the electric bill. [Note that the way the information was presented to us, your residential rates may be increasing a similar amount – this will depend on your electrical provider, and their source of power.]