FLORENCE, S.C., June 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- For the second straight year, Progress Energy customers in South Carolina will see a reduction in their electric rates. Changes approved by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina will result in an annual reduction of more than $20 for the average household customer.
The changes take effect July 1. They include a reduction of $2.73 per month (for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity) in the portion of rates used to recoup the cost of fuel used in power production, and a 98-cent increase per month for costs related to expanded energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs.
The net result of the changes is a decrease of $1.75 per month, based on a 1,000-kWh bill, or more than $20 in savings over the next year.
For the typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month, the total bill will drop nearly 2 percent, from the current $100.90 to $99.15. For commercial and industrial customers, the change will result in a total bill reduction of 2.7 to 4.3 percent, depending upon a customer's usage.
The costs of coal, natural gas and other fuels, which had risen sharply in the middle of the last decade, have decreased in the last two years, and Progress Energy Carolinas has taken advantage of the opportunity to negotiate lower-priced fuel contracts on behalf of customers. Average customer electricity use also has stabilized, due in part to the generally slow economy, and that has reduced overall electricity production costs.
The fuel portion of the company's rates is adjusted annually by the PSC to reflect the actual cost of fuel the utility uses to produce electricity to meet customer demand. By law, Progress Energy does not make a profit from the fuel charge. The company also files annually to recover the costs of implementing programs designed to help reduce energy consumption and save customers money on their energy bills.
The other major component of the rates, the base rate, has not increased since 1988.
"We are very pleased to be able to lower prices for our customers again this year," said Progress Energy President and CEO Lloyd Yates. "We remain focused on increasing efficiency in our operations, while continuing to meet the expectations of our customers and regulators for reliable and environmentally sound service."
Progress Energy encourages customers to learn all they can about using energy wisely -- to save energy and money. Customers can save up to 20 percent on their energy costs by making simple changes at home. Cleaning air filters, replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact-fluorescent bulbs, adjusting the thermostat and sealing windows and doors can result in noticeable savings. For more energy-saving tips and information on energy-efficiency programs and incentives, visit www.savethewatts.com.
Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with more than 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity and approximately $10 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve about 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. The company has earned the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence, and was the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. The company is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, which includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. Progress Energy celebrated a century of service in 2008. Visit the company's website at www.progress-energy.com.
SOURCE Progress Energy Carolinas