SCE&G looks to raise rates 37 percent by 2019

In order to pay for two new nuclear plants in South Carolina, SCE&G is planning to raise its electricity rates by 37 percent over the next 11 years. SCE&G is the principal subsidiary of Scana Corp. and provides power service for much of the state.

From The Post and Courier:

Assuming the Public Service Commission approves the request, the monthly electric bill for the average SCE&G residential ratepayer would rise gradually by nearly $40 — to $147.11 in 2019 from $107.67 now.

"There's never a good time and really never a good reason, when you're a customer, to see your rates go up, especially when every other facet of your pocketbook is being strained," said Scana spokesman Eric Boomhower. "But we absolutely negotiated the best deal that we could for our customers and our company in trying to meet the challenges that we had in front of us: the demand concerns, the environmental concerns, the cost concerns, etc."

SCE&G filed its request with state regulators Friday. A news release from Scana Corp. offers more details on the increase request:

A public hearing will be conducted during which the PSC will hear testimony related to the application. The Commission is required to issue an order within nine months of the filing. If approved by the Commission, rates would be adjusted each year based on construction expenditures made since the last increase.

The State newspaper adds this:

SCE&G said it is asking ratepayers to pay costs before the first unit begins operation to save on its construction costs.

Critics say the practice allows utilities to unfairly charge today’s ratepayers for tomorrow’s power.

“It shifts all the risk from the shareholders to ratepayers,” said Tom Clements, Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator in Columbia, for Friends of the Earth.