July 2, 2021
The utility company originally wanted to increase customer rates over 7% but agreed to reduce the hike to a little over 1%.
By Julia Kauffman (WLTX)
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Customers of Dominion Energy South Carolina no longer have to worry about a big hike in their electric bill; at least for now.
On Friday, the utility company announced they are settling on their requested rate increase with the Office of Regulatory Staff. Instead of increasing customer rates by over 7%, they’ve agreed to raise rates by a little over 1%.
Dominion Energy filed for a rate increase on all customers last year.
For residents, they wanted to hike the rates 7.73%. Small businesses would’ve seen a 7.2% increase.
However, after months of negotiation with the Office of Regulatory Staff and other intervenors, they’ve settled to only increase rates by 1.46% for residents, and 1.08% for small businesses.
“The result was a phenomenal result for the rate payers,” Frank Knapp, a small-business owner and intervenor in the settlement, told News19.
Frank Knapp owns an office building in Columbia. It racks up over $400 a month in energy bills. With the new, agreed upon rate hike, his rates “would only be $4.50 higher.” But under Dominion’s original request, it would’ve been $30 more a month, according to Knapp.
He added that the new settlement will save him a ton of money compared to what Dominion originally wanted to charge.
“From my office building I have, I’m saving about $25 a month compared to what Dominion wanted,” said Knapp.
Executive Director of the Office of Regulatory Staff, Nanette Edwards, told News19 although there is an increase, “it’s a very small increase compared to what was originally requested.”
Edwards said the settlement her agency worked on cuts the proposed rate hike by over 80% for Dominion customers.
“If you look to your bill today, and you look at your bill October 1, and you use exactly 1,000 kilowatt hours in a month, your net increase for electric, would be $1.81,” Edwards explained.
The rate hike will go into effect September first. However, before that happens, the Public Service Commission must approve the settlement.
The agreement also includes $15 million to help customers pay overdue bills. But the details on how to apply have not been released yet.