SCE&G to soften rate hike request

- thestate.com

S.C. Electric & Gas Co. signed an agreement that it says will cushion the impact of a proposed and highly controversial power-rate increase.

If approved, the deal with the state Office of Regulatory Staff would provide a $25 million credit to the company's power customers and lower the amount of profit SCE&G shareholders would get from the next rate hike to 10.7 percent from 11.6 percent.

Also, the agreement would create a pilot program that would address abnormally high, weather-driven spikes in monthly electricity bills.

The basic terms of the deal were released late Monday, after ORS officials signed off on them. But many of the details still need to be hashed out, SCE&G spokesman Eric Boomhower said.

The Cayce-based utility said the agreement effectively reduces its rate-increase request by about one-third, to 6.55 percent from 9.55 percent.

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