Dominion Energy South Carolina files to increase retail electric rates by 7.75 percent

Published on August 18, 2020 by Chris Galford

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Reckoning with base rates that have not been adjusted since 2012, Dominion Energy South Carolina filed an application last week to increase its retail electric rates by 7.75 percent.

The change, it stated, is necessary to keep up with current energy needs, continued investments into assets and operating resources, as well as safety and reliability maintenance efforts. For the average residential customer, this would amount to an increase of less than one percent per year when backdated, but in practical terms, amount to around a $9.68 increase per month. Thus, a household using 1,000 KW hours of electricity per month would average around a $131.99 bill per month after the change.

The new rates, if approved by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, would not go into effect until March 2021.

“Our customers count on us to keep the electricity flowing safely, reliably and efficiently,” Rodney Blevins, president of Dominion Energy South Carolina, said. “It is an obligation we take seriously every day. An adjustment to rates is critical to our company’s ability to continue to meet this obligation and expectation.”

Since its last rate case, Dominion Energy South Carolina has invested around $3.2 billion into the system to maintain and improve it, even as it added more than 80,000 new customers. Even as it rolled out more than $2.1 billion in expansions and improvements to transmission and distribution, and around $878 million into upgrades and environmental controls, along with other initiatives, the company has managed to reduce its annual operating costs by more than $45 million. The rate adjustment would be higher if not for that fact.

Current rates, Dominion stated, do not reflect the true cost of serving its service region. As a result, the requested increase will include expenses from previous years that had been deferred until now. Such deferments include storm response and restoration efforts.