COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCSC) - Dominion Energy has agreed to delay its request to raise electric rates in South Carolina for six months because of economic problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Virginia-based utility asked regulators to approve a 7.7% rate hike it said was needed to pay for improvements to the system it bought from SCANA Corp. in 2019.
That would have amounted to nearly $10 per month for an average customer.
The increase would collect an extra $178 million a year from Dominion’s 750,000 South Carolina customers. The South Carolina Public Service Commission was holding hearings this month to consider the rate increase.
The Office of Regulatory Staff, a state watchdog organization, asked Dominion to put the rate increase on hold.
More than 160 people testified in the rate hike hearings with most of them saying an increase during a pandemic is wrong.
Back in November, Gov. Henry McMaster urged the utility to withdraw its request for a rate hike, calling it “ill-timed while customers are struggling ‘to keep their lights on’” during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Dominion’s top executive in South Carolina, McMaster warned that if Dominion did not withdraw its request, he would ask the state’s Public Service Commission to reject the application.