Duke Energy files rate increase request in South Carolina

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) has filed a request with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina to increase electric rates by $220 million, with more than half the request being driven by capital investments made in the electric system serving South Carolina customers.

The increase would be a 15.1 percent over the current rates, with the exact increase varying with the customer class. Residential customers would receive the largest rate increase of 16.3 percent, while commercial customers would receive the smallest increase at 14 percent. Lighting customers would receive a 15.9 percent increase, and industrial customers would receive a 14.4 percent increase.

Duke stated in a release that the increase is needed to begin paying the company back for money it has invested in new, cleaner and more efficient power plants and equipment and money spent to comply with increasing state and federal regulations. In addition to system upgrades, the rate request would also cover improvements to the company’s vegetation management program to reduce the likelihood of tree-related outages and federally-mandated nuclear power plant safety upgrades and cyber security enhancements.

Last month, Duke Energy filed a request to raise rates in North Carolina by 9.7 percent, which would result in a total of $446 million, citing the same need to repay recent investments.

The company said in a statement that the increases are needed to begin paying the company back for money it has invested in new cleaner, more efficient power plants and equipment, including the Dan River Combined Cycle Station in Eden, N.C.; Cliffside Steam Station Unit 6 in Mooresboro, N.C.; Oconee Nuclear Station in Oconee County, S.C.; and McGuire Nuclear Station in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

The cost of all four projects is just less than $1.2 billion.

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