The South Carolina Public Service Commission has approved the settlement reached between the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Duke Energy, SC Office of Regulatory Staff and other intervenors in Duke’s recent rate hike request.
Duke’s small business customers will now see a 2.29 percent increase the first year and 1.13 percent the second year for an overall increase of only 3.42 percent.
September 12, 2013
Overall, the PSC approved an average 6.42% increase for businesses, 7.34% for industrial customers and 10.16% for residential customers.
Overall, the PSC-approved settlement that increases electricity rates for about 540,000 households and businesses in South Carolina rate case reduces Duke’s original $220 million rate request by almost half. The approved agreement also reduces Duke’s proposed 11.25% return on common equity — the maximum profit margin — to 10.2%.
Before the PSC’s July 31 hearings on the rate request, the Charlotte, N.C.-based utility reached a settlement agreement with the state’s utility watchdog agency, the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, and a lineup of intervenors that included the small business chamber’s leader.
In addition to the rate increase, the PSC directed Duke Energy to use $3.5 million at shareholder expense to provide $2.5 million for public-assistance programs, manufacturing competitiveness grants, economic development and/or education-workforce training programs. Another $1 million will be allocated by the utility through the Office of Regulatory Staff to support senior outreach and public education initiatives.