Why is SCE&G able to change electric rates?
As a regulated utility, SCE&G must go through a formal process with the S.C. Public Service Commission anytime we seek to increase or decrease our rates. The role of the PSC is to ensure fair and reasonable rates for customers as well as a reasonable rate of return for utilities. This process lasts for several months and involves many stakeholders, thousands of pages of information and a public hearing before the PSC. How do customers benefit from SCE&G's system improvements?
SCE&G is one of the leading utilities in the southeast for reliability and our top priority is to provide safe and reliable service to our customers. While ensuring compliance with all state and federal regulations, our employees work each and every day to provide you with safe and reliable power. By improving our system, we're able to better serve our customers, reduce the frequency of outages and minimize the amount of time customers are without power. How does SCE&G help its customers?
As your energy provider and your neighbor, the health and welfare of the communities we serve are important to us. Our employees live and work in their communities and are actively engaged in many ways. Employees regularly volunteer time and provide support for organizations that protect the environment, strengthen educational resources, and encourage business and community development.
We're also committed to helping you find ways to reduce your energy use. Our EnergyWise programs, including a free Home Energy Check-up, can help you learn about your energy use and ways you can use less. We also offer year-round tips and rebates and incentives to help you save more energy.
We know there are times when you may have difficulty paying your utility bill. We offer a variety of programs designed to accommodate the unique needs of our customers. Budget Billing and other resources are available to help you. The first step is calling us at 1-800-251-7234. What does it mean to be a regulated utility? How is a regulated utility different than other businesses?
SCE&G is regulated by the S.C. Public Service Commission, which oversees our business and allows us to recover prudently incurred costs from customers. The PSC monitors the reliability of our service, the investments we make to improve reliability and comply with all relevant laws and regulations, and the level of earnings shareholders receive. As a regulated public utility, we must follow strict guidelines on how we pass along costs to our customers. We cannot adjust our prices without Commission approval. Why is SCE&G allowed to make a profit? How does the proposed rate change affect SCE&G's rate of return?
Whether it's a major investment in federally mandated environmental upgrades or the cost of building a new power plant, we sell stock and issue bonds that provide the money necessary to pay for these projects on the front end.
When we have a rate case, we're asking for recovery of the true costs we've incurred along with a fair and reasonable rate of return. If SCE&G is financially healthy, we can borrow money at better rates and reduce the cost of investing billions to improve the infrastructure on behalf of customers, keeping costs lower for the long term. Without the financial support of shareholders and bondholders, the overall costs of our services would rise substantially for our customers. When would the rate change go into effect?
If approved, the proposed rate change would go into effect January 2013.