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Public can speak out on rate request

Posted: October 15, 2012 - 5:55pm

This month, area residents can speak out on a nearly 5 percent increase in their South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. bills.

A decision on the company’s request for a rate increase is pending in the S.C. Public Service Commission.

The average monthly residential bill is $135.06 for SCE&G customers. That would rise to $141.73 if the regulatory board approves the higher rates sought by SCANA Corporation’s subsidiary, according to figures from the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff.

In comparison, the average monthly residential bill for Duke Energy is $99.51 and $100.77 for Progress Energy.

Consumers would see any changes from the PSC’s decision on the rate hike request in their January power bills.

SCE&G is applying for a 6.6 percent rate increase, but if a fuel-cost decrease stemming from a drop in the cost of wholesale natural gas is also approved, a residential customer's monthly bill will be only 4.85 percent higher, said SCANA spokesman Eric Boomhower.

Boomhower also pointed to the company’s tax burden.

“We have increased taxes here in South Carolina that have also affected our need to go in for this,” he said. “In 2011, we paid about $128 million in property taxes in the state.”

A company news release says the increase totaled $16 million.

IF YOU GO

Three Public Service Commission has scheduled three public hearings on SCE&G’s application, filed on June 29, for permission to increase rates. All testimony will be given under oath. The local hearing will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 24, at the Aiken Technical College Amphitheater, room 701, 2276 Jefferson Davis Highway, in Graniteville.

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