South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG), filed with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff for an $8.8 million, or 2.40 percent, overall increase to its retail natural gas base rates.
SCE&G filed for the increase under terms of the Natural Gas Rate Stabilization Act, a South Carolina law designed to reduce fluctuations in customer rates by allowing for more efficient recovery of the costs regulated utilities incur in expanding, improving and maintaining natural gas service infrastructure.
Information supporting the filing will be reviewed by the ORS, which will issue an audit report by Sept.1. The PSC will review SCE&G's filing and the ORS audit report and issue an order in October. If approved, the rate increase would be effective with the first billing cycle of November.
Keller Kissam, president of SCE&G's retail operations, said even with the proposed rate increase, customer bills on average will be down from a year ago based on current wholesale costs.
"Approximately 40 percent of what our customers are paying for natural gas is a direct pass-through of the costs we incur purchasing and transporting natural gas from the wholesale market," said Kissam. "Those costs are down significantly. At present levels, residential bills will actually be about $11 less annually compared to a year ago, based on average usage."
The proposed overall 2.40 percent increase to natural gas rates breaks out as follows:
- 4.44 percent increase for residential customers
- 2.18 percent increase for small/medium commercial customers
- 1.54 percent increase for large commercial/industrial customers