SCE&G can raise rates nearly 3%, state regulators rule

rburris@thestate.comSeptember 18, 2013 

Work continues on the Containment Vessel after the Bottom Head was placed. SCE&G nuclear construction site at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, Wednesday morning in Jenkinsville, S.C.

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com Buy Photo

An electric-rate hike for SCE&G customers was approved Wednesday by the S.C. Public Service Commission.

The rate increase will cost residential customers $4.17 extra for each 1,000 kilowatt hours of power they use. Residents using that amount would see an average monthly bill of $142.28, the Public Service Commission said.

The new rates go into effect Oct. 30.

The overall 2.87 percent increase of $67.2 million was granted to pay the capital financing costs for two new nuclear reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, the commission said. S.C. Electric & Gas is building the $10 billion reactors with state-owned utility Santee Cooper at the plant 25 miles north of Columbia in Fairfield County.

The state’s Base Load Review Act allows the utility to annually adjust electrical rates during construction of such new plants to recover financing costs.

SCE&G says paying the financing costs of the units during construction lowers the overall construction costs of the two reactors by $1 billion and lowers costs that would be passed on to customers over the life of the reactors by $4 billion.

SCE&G had spent $2.1 billion on the new unit construction as of June 30, according to the commission.

The rate increase can be challenged by petitioning the commission for a review of the rate approval.

In May, when SCE&G initially requested the rate hike, the utility asked the commission for a 2.97 percent overall increase of $69.7 million.

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