Customers of South Carolina Electric and Gas may soon find out if their power bills will be going up by the end of this year.
The South Carolina Public Service Commission is expected to vote on SCE&G’s proposed 4% rate increase by the end of December. If approved, the hike would take effect in January. The average customer would pay about $31 more a year under the plan.
An original 6.6% rate increase generated lots of criticism, especially after a watchdog group found $1.4 million in “unallowable expenses” that were used to justify the hike. The Cayce-based utility reduced that initial request to the current 4% following an agreement between SCE&G and a number of business organizations and the AARP.
However, the utility plans to offset that with lower fuel prices to benefit its customers. That would result in a net 1.38% increase, the company said. If the Public Service Commission grants the request, SCE&G has agreed to not seek another increase before 2015.
About 75 opponents of the hike turned out for a public hearing on the request in Columbia Tuesday night.