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Duke Energy encourages residents to compare energy plans

Major utility Duke Energy will soon use a new ploy to help residents lower their residential electricity bills, which will entail allowing families to compare energy bills, the Gaston Gazette reports.

According to the media outlet, the utility is hoping peer pressure could encourage homeowners to keep their power consumption lower by either keeping the thermostat at an appropriate level or by installing efficient light bulbs. If ratepayers take these simple steps, the company said, they could potentially see their electricity bills fall by $20.

"We know that people compare bills," said Paige Layne, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy.

The news provider stated by comparing electricity bills with nearby families, people with similar home sizes and bills will learn from each other how to control their energy usage. Consumption will be measured by devices that that will be mailed to 500,000 Duke customers.

"It’s just additional data customers can use if they want to know how they are doing compared to other folks," said Layne. "And they may take that information and make changes."

The utility's new program is likely an attempt to compete with retail energy providers, which offer electricity rates at a discount. Residents in deregulated markets have the opportunity to compare energy plans in order to find the most affordable option.