AP NEWS

Hearing on Duke rate increase continues

April 11, 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C.– A hearing to determine whether Duke Energy Progress will get to increase its rates is expected to continue Friday and possibly into next week.

The hearing began Thursday in Columbia before the Public Service Commission.

The commission has until the second week of May to issue an order in the case determining whether the rate increase will be allowed.

Duke Energy Progress, the subsidiary of Duke Energy serving northeastern South Carolina, has proposed a 12.5 percent increase in its monthly variable rate for residential customers. Small general service customers would receive a 14.5 percent rate increase, medium general service customers would receive a 6.7 percent increase and large general service customers would receive a 9.6 percent increase.

The proposed rate increase includes an increase in the basic facilities charge.

According to Ryan Mosier, a spokesman for Duke Energy, the charge would increase to “$11.78 for residential customers, $12.34 for SGS customers and $11.31 for SGS Constant Load customers.”

The proposal for a rate increases has been modified since Duke Energy Progress originally proposed it. Originally, if the proposed increase were to go into effect, a “typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh” would see an increase of $17.91 per month beginning June 1, another $1.60 per month beginning June 1, 2020, and $1.81 per month on June 1, 2021. The total increase after June 1, 2021, would be $21.32 per month.

Duke Energy Progress had also proposed an increase in its fixed monthly charges from $9.06 per month to $29 per month beginning June 1. This increase would have been reflected in the total monthly increase of $17.91.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission functions essentially as a court for cases involving utilities and other regulated companies, according to its website. The Public Service Commission has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the investor-owned electric and gas utility companies. It is governed by seven commissioners, one elected by the General Assembly from each of the seven Congressional Districts in South Carolina. The commissioner from the seventh Congressional District is G. O’Neal Hamilton from Bennettsville.