This news is classified in: Traditional Energy
May 3, 2023
Duke Energy Progress is seeking to recover costs for the fuel used to generate electricity for South Carolina homes and businesses. If approved by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC), the average monthly residential bill would increase by 3.7% beginning Aug. 1.
The total monthly impact of these rate changes for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would be an increase of $5.55, from $148.18 to $153.73.
If approved by the PSCSC, rates for commercial customers would increase 2.0% and rates for industrial customers would increase 2.7%.
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The PSCSC will consider the rates in a public evidentiary hearing where it will also hear the results of an extensive audit and inquiries of the parties involved in the case to ensure an accurate adjustment is made to billed rates.
Energy providers across the country have been impacted by a sharp rise in fuel costs over the past couple of years.The company does not profit from these increased fuel costs and proactively takes measures to insulate customers from volatility. For example, Duke Energy Progress achieved $38 million in savings for South Carolina customers by aggressively managing natural gas fuel contracts to obtain the best price, significantly reducing the overall rate impact for customers. Also, carbon-free nuclear, which provides about half of South Carolina’s generation, and renewables, which provide fuel-free energy, help mitigate fuel volatility.
Duke Energy Progress serves about 172,000 households and businesses in northeastern South Carolina, including Florence, Sumter and Darlington counties. The company's other South Carolina utility – Duke Energy Carolinas – will make its annual fuel filing in August.
Duke Energy Progress makes a fuel cost-recovery filing annually in South Carolina. The fuel rate is based on the projected cost of fuel used to provide electric service to the company's customers, plus a true up of the prior year’s projection compared to actual costs incurred. The PSCSC reviews fuel costs and adjusts the fuel component of customer rates accordingly.
Each year, this true-up proceeding is intended to resolve the difference between projected fuel costs, and what is actually billed to the customer. Some years, the company reimburses customers and reduces the charge to their energy bills; in other years – like this year – the shortfall from the underpayment is recovered from customers.
The increase for all customer classes in this year’s request is primarily driven by the increased cost of natural gas caused by national and international demand and tight supplies, plus the true-up component since the previous fuel cost-recovery filing. In other words, customers have paid far less than what it actually cost to power their homes and businesses, and Duke Energy Progress has financed this difference on behalf of customers. Now, the company is requesting reimbursement for these costs.
Customers struggling to pay their energy bills might qualify for assistance from various government and nonprofit programs for utility bills and other household expenses, or from the Share the Light Fund , a Duke Energy program that provides energy assistance. Duke Energy also offers programs and resources to help customers, as well as flexible payment arrangements to help customers experiencing uncertainty keep their accounts in good standing.
To help all customers take control of their energy use, Duke Energy offers energy-saving tips and innovative efficiency programs for every budget. For example, the Home Energy House Call is a free in-home energy assessment that provides customers more information about how they use energy and strategies to save money on their monthly bill. To learn more about these programs, visit duke-energy.com/savings .
Duke Energy Progress, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns 12,500 megawatts of energy capacity, supplying electricity to 1.7 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 29,000-square-mile service area in North Carolina and South Carolina.