A utility company that provides power for Midlands and Lowcountry residents was given permission to raise its rates last week. A request by South Carolina Electric and Gas to raise by 2.3 percent was approved by the Public Service Commssion September 29. The utility says the hike will boost the average residential bill by about $5.50 per month. It takes takes effect on October 30.
The utility said it needed to raise the costs for its customers to pay for two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Sumner Nuclear Station in Fairfield County. The company originally requested a 2.82 percent increase before a court decision banned it from passing on to customers in advance any potential cost overruns.
According to state law, SCE&G is allowed to raise its rates over the next two years before both reactors go online in 2019. A company spokesperson said the utility would save almost $1 billion in costs and interest by paying up front.
The increase is the second this year, with a 4.88 percent uptick approved in July. After many customers complained at the time, the company agreed to hold off on normal hikes for two more years. However, that pledge did not cover costs from the Sumner expansion.