Duke Energy passes rising fuel costs on to captive customers in South Carolina
Utility customers to bear burden of spiking fuel costs in Public Service Commission’s most recent decision
CHARLESTON, S.C. — On Tuesday, South Carolina’s Public Service Commission approved Duke Energy Carolinas’ request to raise utility bills by 10.4%—more than $12 per month for a typical residential customer—to cover skyrocketing fossil fuel costs.
“We are disappointed that the Public Service Commission continues to pass 100% of rising fuel costs to customers without addressing the fundamental problem: heavy reliance on fossil fuel resources exposes customers to substantial cost risk, as opposed to the significantly cleaner, more affordable resources that are available and ready to go,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Staff Attorney, Kate Mixson.
This decision marks the third time this year that the PSC has approved utility rate increases due to rising gas costs without addressing its impact on customers and the underlying problem. Indeed, earlier this year the Commission rejected Duke’s attempt to plan for increased renewable energy.
“The risks of relying too heavily on fuel-dependent resources will be visible in customers’ bills during a time when many families already have to make tough financial decisions,” said State Policy Director at Upstate Forever, Chase-Muller. “We hope Duke and Commissioners recognize the impact they have on regular customers burdened with absorbing all of the cost risk for fossil fuels and take steps to prioritize renewables.”
“Our current system puts all the risk on customers. Customers pay for all the gas and coal burned in Duke power plants; the utility’s shareholders do not,” said Research Director at Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Maggie Shober. “South Carolinians will continue to be hit with fuel rate increases until the Commission requires utilities to expand affordable clean resources that lower customer bills like energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
“The massive fuel cost increases we are seeing at every utility in South Carolina are a prime example of why smart companies and states are moving towards lower-cost renewable energy” said Energy Program Director at the Conservation League, Eddy Moore. “We hope that when commissioners review the pending request from Dominion Energy for an even greater increase later this fall, they take concrete steps to reduce customer exposure to fossil fuel costs.”