Major rate hikes for SCE&G customers are on the way - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Major rate hikes for SCE&G customers are on the way

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For the fifth year in a row, SCE&G is asking its customers for a rate increase.  AARP knows for many seniors on a fixed income it's tough.

"When you've seen a company go after rate increases that are seven and eight percent and you're seeing return profits in the double digits for the last two quarters it's hard to explain to folks who live on a fixed income why should I pay more," said Patrick Cobb, the associate state director of communications for AARP.

It's also tough for small businesses, who fought against the increase, especially after what the office of regulatory staff found in SCE&G's filings.

"It's frustrating when SCE&G puts a filing in and we find 1.4 million dollars in unallowable costs," said Frank Knapp Jr. with the SC Small Business Chamber. "They know that a lot of that is not acceptable, like the alcohol that is particularly prohibited to be in a filing."

SCE&G agrees those costs shouldn't be passed to customers.

"Those were miscoded expenses and absolutely should not have been in there," said Eric Boomhower with SCE&G Public Affairs.

And point out, the rate increase is to improve reliability and meet federal regulations that are expensive.

"We are a very capital intensive business we have to go out and put poles in the ground or build plants and so forth or retrofit plants with environmental equipment it takes a lot of money," Eric added. "We need to attract investment capital to be able to do that."

Still some question why despite home audits and using less energy they're paying more.

"How do you stop this madness especially when consumers here who are SCE&G customers pay about 40 percent more than Duke customers and progress customers for the same 1,000 kilowatts hours of power," asked Patrick.

SCE&G argues you can't compare rates company to company.  SCE&G's coal producing plants are more expensive to run than the nuclear reactors for other companies.

According to SCE&G, their goal is to better diversify its producing capacities which is why it's putting funding into nuclear energy, which is more expensive to build, but cheaper to generate once it's built.           


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