SC regulators approve SCE&G's 5 percent power hike

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Regulators have approved a nearly 5% increase in South Carolina Electric & Gas power rates.

The state Public Service Commission unanimously voted Wednesday for the increase which will be implemented over three years.

SCE&G originally asked for a 9.5% increase to pay for federally mandated environmental improvements to its coal-fired plants and for its backup dam near Columbia, but settled on the smaller increase after negotiations.

About 130 people spoke at a series of public hearings in May, almost all of them against the increase. Many people said they couldn't afford the increase in bad economic times.

SCE&G did agree to give residents and small businesses credits that would delay the full impact of the 4.9% increase until July 2012.

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