South Carolina Electric and Gas has proposed an electricity rate increase that has received much opposition from state citizens. Scott Grigg is Supervisor of Public Affairs for SCANA.
“As far as the rate increase we have going right now, it’s a 9.5 percent increase that we have proposed to the PSC. We have delayed it by a year because our executives took a look at it and said ‘it’s a bad economy, we don’t want to do this to our customers right now,’ so we waited for a year,” says Grigg.
Grigg explains some of the reasons why SCE&G is in need of the rate increase: “We have federally mandated initiatives we had to do. We had to spend $500 million in scrubbers for two of our plants. We had to spend $70 million on equipment to reduce nitrogen oxide at another plant and $22 million on various other environmental projects. Our property taxes have increased $17 million annually over the last few years. These are all things that cost money. These are mandates, the government says you got to do it, you got to do it,” says Grigg.
Grigg says there are two components of an electric bill.
“There’s the base rate and that’s the portion we have control over. It’s the portion of maintenance, operation, transmission distribution, salaries. Then, about 30 percent of that bill is called fuel costs, it’s what we pay for coal and natural gas to run our plants. The fuel component portion of that is passed-threw cost. In other words, if we pay $60 a ton for coal, that’s passed along to our customers, we don’t make a penny on that,” says Grigg.
SCE&G customers have written letters to the State Regulatory Commission opposing the increase, saying it would pose a hardship in the current economy.
(Grigg’s comments on rate increase, mp3, 1:31)