COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dominion Energy South Carolina Customers could see an increase to their bill starting May 1.
Dominion Energy is proposing a rate increase. They say the money would be used to cover the cost of coal and natural gas. The electric utility is asking the State Public Service commission to approve the request.
If approved, the monthly bill of a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity would increase by approximately $6.53 a month-- a 5.19% difference.
Last year, state regulators approved a net increase of $1.59 per month.
South Carolina Utilities estimate fuel costs annually and then settle the differences between the estimate and what they actually paid. The cost is then pass down to consumers.
According to Dominion Energy South Carolina, he company saw its annual fuel costs rise by nearly 50% when comparing calendar year 2021 to calendar year 2020. As a result, Dominion Energy South Carolina is forecast to be approximately $142 million under-collected on fuel costs. Also, increasing amounts of solar that the company must purchase is contributing to the cost increase.
Currently, approximately 20% of what a residential customer pays for a kilowatt hour of electricity represents the cost of fuel to run Dominion Energy South Carolina’s power plants.
Dominion Energy sent a statement to News 19 which reads in part:
"Although we have taken steps to minimize this year’s fuel cost adjustment so that customers see the lowest possible impact to their bills, we must recover the costs of purchasing and transporting fuel to produce the electricity our customers rely on every day. These fuel costs are a direct pass-through to customers, as Dominion Energy does not earn a profit on this portion of electric rates.”
Dominion Energy customers tell News 19 they're already feeling the pressure of inflation and this increase would make it even worse.
“It’s getting to a point where it's a little bit unbearable for me," said Shahriar Iqbal
“It’s annoying and frustrating," said Rob Hubbard.
Customers will be notified of the increase through an insert in their monthly bill.
Dominion's request will go in front of the commission on April 7 and a decision will be made later that month.
Customers can file a letter of protest against the rate hike on the Public Service Commission website.