BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Power bills are about to change for Berkeley Electric customers, but the power cooperative says rates should not increase.
Berkeley Electric Cooperative is changing the way it charges for fixed energy costs and it's eliminating tiered rates based on power use. The restructured rates go into effect on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017 and will only affect residential and small commercial companies.
The cooperative is removing a "facilities charge" from the bundled energy charge customers see on their bill. This is a fixed cost, used to cover all costs for providing electric services, such as poles, wires, substations, maintenance and more. Right now, all members pay a fixed cost of $15 per month. Starting in January, a new "Service Availability Charge" will be added to bills as a separate charge. Residential customers will be charged $0.99 per day while small commercial members will pay a new charge of $1.17. Berkeley Electric says this is the first change to fixed costs in thirty years.
Berkeley Electric says most customers won't see an increase because of the elimination of tiered rates. The base rate for kilowatt-hour usage will be lowered, and all residential and small commercial users will pay the same rate. The cooperative says low usage members with monthly usage of 0.600-kilowatt hours will see the largest impact. The $15 per month charge will increase to almost $30 for residential members. Berkeley Electric says average and high usage members should see a decrease on their monthly bill between $1 and $10.
For more information on the rate restructuring, click here.