N.C. utility to pay customers to save energy

Piedmont Natural Gas, North Carolina's biggest natural gas utility, will start paying customers to become more energy efficient.

The N.C. Utilities Commission approved the conservation programs late Monday as part of a statewide policy goal to cut energy waste. Charlotte-based Piedmont, with about 725,000 customers statewide, will pay low-income households up to $3,500 to help defray the cost of weatherization measures, such as duct sealing, insulation, furnace tune-ups and to install programmable thermostats. The company will also pay customers $300 toward a high-efficiency furnace and other amounts for other improvements.

The cost of the $1.275 million program will be paid by the company's customers in the state through a rate increase approved last year.

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