The City of Charlotte and Duke Energy Launch High Energy Pilot Program for Qualified Homeowners

The Charlotte skyline is pictured against bright blue skies.

by | Apr 13, 2023

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The City of Charlotte and Duke Energy Carolinas are launching a high energy pilot program for qualified households. The High Energy Use Pilot will help income-qualified homeowners with high energy use receive much-needed home repairs. More explicitly, the program will provide customers with energy efficiency retrofits to improve housing safety, reduce electricity usage, and lower their overall utility costs.

Charlotte is one of three North Carolina municipalities, including Forsyth and Guilford counties, selected for the pilot program. The initial plan is to assist 1,000 customers over a two-year period in the participating areas. Currently, there are an estimated 22,000 residents who qualify for this program. 

Duke Energy will invest $4 million in the Charlotte region to support energy retrofits for approximately 500 qualified homeowners. Specifically, the city will also provide up to $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support necessary home repairs that precede energy efficiency retrofitting. 

Necessary home repairs may include window, roof, chimney, plumbing, or water heater repairs or replacements. Following home repairs, energy retrofitting may include the replacement of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Some customers might have LED bulbs installed and older refrigerators swapped with ENERGY STAR® models. 

According to Charlotte Mayor Viles, “[Charlotte] is excited to partner with Duke Energy on this program. By providing much-needed home repairs and energy retrofits, we can lower energy costs and provide safer housing for our residents who need it most, and at the same time reduce emissions in our community.” 

How Energy Costs Impact Low-Income Households

The US Department of Energy has put a major emphasis on environmental justice initiatives. Currently, the DOE is working to eradicate disproportionate environmental and economic impacts on communities that have often been left behind. According to the DOE, the national average energy burden for low-income households is 8.6%. In particular, the percentage of energy costs is based on gross income, and it’s also three times higher than non-low-income households.

Energy burdens are calculated by dividing the average annual housing energy costs by the average household monthly expenditures (electricity, gas, and other fuels). The funding provided by Duke Energy will help provide low-income households with the means to obtain energy retrofits. 

Duke Energy is now accepting applications, and service appointments will begin in mid-May. The City of Charlotte will prioritize houses in the city’s Corridors of Opportunity, a project that focuses on revitalizing neglected neighborhoods. 

For more information or to apply, customers can visit duke-energy.com/highusehelp.

Duke Energy Carolinas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, serves North Carolina and South Caroline. The company was named to Fortune’s 2023 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com.

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