If you’re small business pays South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) for electricity, your holiday gift arrived yesterday.
Back in June SCE&G had filed for a 6.6% average general electricity rate increase. As I have done numerous times I intervened as an individual in the process to argue against increasing rates.
You might remember the controversy I caused in revealing that included in the justification of the rate hike request was the cost of Zumba classes for SCE&G employees and expensive alcohol and dinners for SCANA board members. To read this information and an explanation of how the regulatory process works, click here.
Now for your gift.
Yesterday the SC Public Service Commission approved a Memorandum of Understanding between SCE&G and most of the intervenors in the company’s rate case. The net impact to small businesses will be only a 0.08% increase in electric rates. The agreement also provides for no other general SCE&G electric rate increase until January 1, 2015.
SCE&G will have a net revenue increase of $32 million or 1.38%. The significant decrease from the original proposal was due to several factors. The agreement moved-up an anticipated decrease in fuel costs, the company’s rate of return on equity was reduced from the requested 10.95% to 10.25%, and the Office of Regulatory Staff struck out $1.4 million in unallowable company expenses.
Residential, medium size businesses and large businesses will also benefit from the settlement. The net rate increases for residential customers will be 1.8%, 0.63% for medium size businesses and 1.67% for large businesses.
This is very good news and I am very appreciative of the dedicated efforts of the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS), which is responsible for making sure consumers and power companies are both treated fairly in the regulatory process. ORS worked with all the intervenors to craft this very favorable agreement for small businesses and the other groups.