Public Service Commission of South Carolina Approves Settlement in Duke Energy Carolinas Request to Raise General Rates Jan. 20, 2010
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
First increase since 1991 raises general rates by $74.1 million, or 5.2 percent; other measures reduce the bottom line impact to customers to 3.1 percent (including the energy efficiency rider) in 2010
Outcome balances the company’s need to adjust rates while being sensitive to challenges facing customers during tough economic times
Approved rates effective Feb. 1, 2010
The Public Service Commission of South Carolina today approved Duke Energy Carolinas’ first general rate increase since 1991.
Regulators accepted a settlement agreement that was reached by Duke Energy Carolinas, the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) and the South Carolina Energy Users Committee (SCEUC) regarding the company’s request to raise rates. In addition, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League agreed to the appropriate financial incentive for the company’s energy efficiency efforts.
“We believe the decision by the Public Service Commission strikes an appropriate balance between the utility’s need to adjust rates with the economic challenges facing customers today,” said Jim Turner, Duke Energy’s group executive, president and chief operating officer of U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas. “Today’s ruling allows our company to maintain its strong financial position as we continue to invest in the system to deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy to our customers.”
Consistent with the settlement agreement filed with the commission, a general rate increase of $74.1 million (or 5.2 percent) will be effective on Feb. 1, 2010. However, additional steps outlined in the settlement help lower the total impact of this increase to customer bills to approximately 3.1 percent in 2010. Currently, most Duke Energy residential customers in South Carolina pay between $80 and $87 a month on average. With the approval of this settlement, those customers would pay between $90 and $93 a month.
In its ruling today, the Public Service Commission also approved the cost-recovery mechanism for the company’s energy efficiency efforts. Better known as the modified save-a-watt plan, the goal is to produce robust and sustainable energy efficiency results by helping customers reduce their consumption and save money on their monthly bills.
Money-Saving Opportunities for Customers
On June 1, 2009, Duke Energy launched a number of energy efficiency programs to help customers in the Carolinas use less power and save money. In South Carolina, the average residential customer can save about $5 a month by participating in energy conservation programs.
From programs to help qualified customers improve energy efficiency in their homes, to cash incentives for purchasing energy-efficient equipment, these programs are first steps in helping residents and businesses lower their energy bills. Other programs will enable customers to save even more money by allowing the utility to manage their energy use in times of high demand. More information is available at http://www.duke-energy.com/south-carolina/savings.asp.
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,000 megawatts of electricity capacity to approximately 2.4 million customers in a 22,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com.