COLUMBIA, S.C. — Customers for Dominion Energy of South Carolina are battling an almost 14% increase in their energy bills.
The company increased bills by 5% back in April and has filed to attempt to increase them again. First, however, that increase must be approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission.
As part of that process, the agency allows public comment. On Monday, the commission heard from customers who shared their thoughts on the increase, both in person and virtually.
Audrey Jones showed up to the Monday morning meeting and says the increase will hurt her and hundreds of other customers.
"I'm looking at my bill now, and I'm a single person, I live in a modest home, and it's unbearable," Jones said. "I have two jobs, and I'm now looking at a possible third stream of income."
In its original application to the commission, Dominion Energy argued the rate increase now would stop them from needing a bigger increase in 2023 of about 27%.
At the second public hearing Monday afternoon, Dominion Energy lawyers announced that approval for the rise in bills could happen as soon as Tuesday.
"All of the parties worked very diligently to reach what we think is a comprehensive settlement agreement. All of the parties and all interveners have signed on. It was recently filed, I believe at 3:45 today," said Dominion Energy lawyer, Michael Anzelmo said.
Rhonda O'Banion, with Dominion Energy, gave this statement about the settlement saying, "Recognizing the challenges economic pressures have placed on everyone, and considering natural gas prices have lessened over the past several months, dominion energy is pleased that we have reached an agreement with all parties in the best interest of our customers by reducing the immediate impact of the fuel increase. We encourage customers to contact us if they need payment assistance."
Specifics on the settlement were not announced at the hearing. The public will presumably learn the terms of the settlement at Tuesday's hearing with the commission which begins at 10 a.m.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting at the Public Service Commission building located at 101 Executive Center Dr # 100, Columbia, SC 29210.