AP NEWS

Duke Energy changes its rate-increase proposal

March 29, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – Duke Energy Progress has changed its proposed rate increase.

In an email sent Thursday morning, Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier confirmed that Duke Energy Progress, the subsidiary of Duke Energy serving northeastern South Carolina, had adopted the proposal of the Office of Regulatory Staff to limit its proposed basic facilities charge increase to “$11.78 for residential customers, $12.34 for SGS customers, and $11.31 for SGS Constant Load customers.”

Duke Energy Progress had originally proposed an increase in its basic facilities charge from around $9 to $29.

Duke Energy Carolinas, the subsidiary of Duke Energy serving the Upstate, previously agreed to a similar proposal.

Mosier also said Duke Energy Progress had removed its grid-improvement plan from the rate request, removing a small portion of the monthly variable rate increases. The grid-improvement plan would have cost the average customer $1.60 per month beginning June 1, 2020, and $1.81 per month on June 1, 2021.

He added that the company maintains its position on its other proposed rate increases. Those proposals are for an increase of $17.91 per month beginning June 1 for the average customer using 1,000 kWh per month if approved by the Public Service Commission.

In a fact sheet provided about the rate increases, Duke Energy Progress says that the average rate increase for residential customers would be 12.5 percent. Small general service customers would have a 14.5 percent rate increase, medium general service customers would have a 6.7 percent rate increase and large general service customers would have a 9.6 percent rate increase.

Duke Energy Progress’s service territory includes approximately 32,000 square miles including northeastern South Carolina, namely the counties of Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Marion, Marlboro, and some of Williamsburg.

In northeastern South Carolina, Duke Energy Progress serves approximately 169,000 customers. The company generated approximately $5.1 billion in revenue during the 2017 calendar year. Approximately 11 percent, or $561 million, of this revenue is derived from South Carolina customers according to Duke Energy Progress’s application to the Public Service Commission.

The subsidiary known as Duke Energy Progress was formed when Duke Energy acquired Progress Energy in the 2011. Progress Energy, in turn, was formed from the merger of Carolina Power & Light and Florida Progress Corporation in the early 2000s.

Originally, the proposed rate increases for a “typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh” were $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 from each of the seven Congressional Districts in South Carolina. The commissioner from the seventh Congressional District is G. O’Neal Hamilton from Bennettsville.

The Public Service Commission is expected to hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday in the Florence County Council Chambers of the County Complex at 180 N. Irby St.

There is also a public hearing before the Public Service Commission at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Nettles Auditorium on the campus of USC-Sumter. Nettles Auditorium is at 200 Miller Road in Sumter.