Work to modernize power plants and generate cleaner electricity, responsibly manage coal ash, improve reliability and continually enhance service is at the heart of a request by Duke Energy Carolinas to change customer rates in South Carolina. The request also includes nuclear project development costs.
Duke Energy Carolinas serves about 591,000 customers in the Upstate region of South Carolina, including Greenwood, Greenville, Spartanburg, Lancaster and Yorkcounties.
Based on these investments, the filing with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) requests to increase revenues by about $168 million, for an overall average rate increase across all customer classes of 10.0 percent.
“The electric power grid is the backbone of South Carolina’s digital economy – not just today, but for decades to come,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “Customers want safe, reliable and increasingly clean electricity. They also want more options and control over how they use energy in their everyday lives. We’re working hard to build a smart, secure and flexible electric infrastructure to better serve our customers and keep South Carolina competitive now and in the years ahead.”
The average rate increase for residential customers on their total bill would be 12.1 percent, while commercial and industrial customers would see an average increase of 8.3 percent.
If the proposal is approved, a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity monthly would pay about $129.43 per month, an increase of about $15.57. Duke Energy Carolinas has requested options to spread recovery of certain costs over multiple years to reduce the immediate impact on customer bills.
Working today for a smarter tomorrow
The company is making strategic, data-driven investments to improve reliability and harden the grid against severe weather, protect against cyber and physical threats, use more solar and clean energy, and provide customers with the information they need to make better energy choices and save money. These investments will deliver benefits for customers both immediately and in the years to come.
Generating cleaner energy
As part of its work to deliver electricity that is cleaner than ever, Duke Energy has retired coal plants across the system – Duke Energy no longer operates coal plants anywhere in South Carolina. The company is providing customers with increasingly clean energy from state-of-the-art, carbon-free nuclear plants and new, highly-efficient natural gas and utility-scale solar energy projects. Nearly half of the electricity generated by Duke Energy in the Carolinas last year came from carbon-free resources, including hydro-electric facilities. Significantly, the W.S. Lee Combined Cycle plant in Anderson County, S.C., completed in April 2018, features state-of-the-art technology for increased efficiency and significantly reduced emissions. Additionally, investments related to both the expansion of carbon-free nuclear energy and the evaluation of options to extend the life of the company’s existing nuclear fleet are an important part of the diverse energy mix that reliably serves customers every day.
Improving the customer experience
Duke Energy Carolinas is planning for the future to ensure the best customer service possible. The company is deploying a new customer information system to give customers more information and options, and improve the overall customer experience; installing smart meters to give customers intelligent information to help them make smart choices to save energy and money before their bill is due, as well as improve the company’s outage response when an outage occurs; seeking to offer customers the option of a pre-payment plan that can eliminate the need for deposits; and proposing the elimination of convenience charges for residential customers every time they use a credit or a debit card to make a payment.
Managing coal ash responsibly and recycling byproducts
Duke Energy Carolinas is responsibly managing coal ash and safely closing ash basins at its coal sites in the Carolinas. The cost of these services, including compliance with state and federal regulations that govern the company’s work, is a responsibility shared by all consumers of electricity, so the public and the environment are protected now and in the future.