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Dominion asks for 7.75% rate increase

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Dominion Energy South Carolina has asked the S.C. Public Service Commission to approve a 7.75% increase in retail electric rates.

If the request, filed Friday, is approved, a typical residential bill of a customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would increase an average of $9.68 per month to $131.99, according to Dominion.

“Our customers count on us to keep the electricity flowing safely, reliably and efficiently,” Rodney Blevins, president of Dominion Energy South Carolina, said in a news release. “It is an obligation we take seriously every day. An adjustment to rates is critical to our company’s ability to continue to meet this obligation and expectation.”

The requested adjustment equates to an increase of less than 1% per year for the typical customer since base rates were last adjusted in 2012, Dominion said.

The commission is expected to hold a public hearing on the rate increase in January 2021. If approved, the new rates would go into effect in March, according to the release.

Dominion said the rate increase is needed to offset investments required to serve its expanding customer base, maintain the reliability of its electrical system, and to meet “increasingly stringent” security and environmental requirements.

The company said it has invested $3.2 billion since its last rate case in its system, which serves more than 80,000 new customers. That includes more than $2.1 billion in expansion and improvement of its electric transmission and distribution system; approximately $878 million in electric generation upgrades and environmental controls; and about $198 million in technology and equipment improvements.

The requested increase includes previous expenses that were deferred for consideration now, including storm response and restoration costs, Dominion said.

The proposed rate increase reflects a more than $45 million annual reduction in operating costs realized by Dominion’s acquisition of SCANA Corp., approved by the PSC in December 2018, according to the release.

“This rate request is the first increase sought for retail base electric rates in more than eight years, and it reflects the work we have done to operate even more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before,” Blevins said.

Dominion announced plans to ask for a rate increase in November 2019.

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