South Carolina Electric & Gas Company Files for Annual Adjustment Under Natural Gas Rate Stabilization Act.
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (NYSE:SCG), today filed with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSC) and the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) for a $13.4 million, or 2.53 percent, overall increase to its retail natural gas base rates.
SCE&G is filing for the adjustment under terms of the Natural Gas Rate Stabilization Act, a South Carolina law designed to reduce volatility of customer rates by allowing for more efficient recovery of the costs that regulated utilities incur in expanding, improving and maintaining natural gas service infrastructure to meet the needs of customers. The law also works to reduce customer rates when increased revenues cause a utility's earnings to exceed its authorized return on equity. If SCE&G's actual ROE is more than 0.50 percent above or below the 10.25 percent return authorized by the PSC, SCE&G is required to file for a rate adjustment to bring earnings back to that authorized rate of return.
The information supporting SCE&G's filing will be reviewed by the ORS, which will issue an audit report by Sept. 1. The PSC will then review SCE&G's filing and the ORS audit report and will issue an order in October. If approved, the rate adjustment would be implemented with the first billing cycle of November 2009.
SCE&G Vice President of Natural Gas Operations Marty Phalen said significant declines in the wholesale cost of gas over the past 12 months have helped offset the impact the company's rate request will have on the bills of residential customers.
"Our residential customers will be paying an average of about $0.67 less a month for natural gas beginning in November than they were one year ago based on the current wholesale price of natural gas," said Phalen.
Phalen said today's rate filing is being driven primarily by increased costs associated with building, operating and maintaining SCE&G's system infrastructure. "This is about serving our customers safely and reliably," he said. "Meeting the growing demand for natural gas in homes and businesses throughout South Carolina requires that we continue making capital investments in our distribution pipeline and related facilities."
The proposed overall 2.53 percent increase to natural gas rates breaks out as follows:
* 5.66 percent for residential customers
* 2.53 percent for small/medium commercial customers
* 1.84 percent for large commercial/industrial customers.
SCE&G is a regulated public utility that provides natural gas service to approximately 309,000 customers in South Carolina. SCE&G also is engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 652,000 customers throughout the state. Information about SCE&G is available on the company's web site at www.sceg.com.
SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, is an energy-based holding company principally engaged, through subsidiaries, in electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Information about SCANA Corporation and its businesses is available on the Company's web site at www.scana.com.
SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT - SCANA CORPORATION
Statements included in this press release which are not statements of historical fact are intended to be, and are hereby identified as, "forward-looking statements" for purposes of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning key earnings drivers, customer growth, environmental regulations and expenditures, leverage ratio, projections for pension fund contributions, financing activities, access to sources of capital, impacts of the adoption of new accounting rules, estimated construction and other expenditures and factors affecting the availability of synthetic fuel tax credits. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "could," "should," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "projects," "predicts," "potential" or "continue" or the negative of these terms or other similar terminology. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and that actual results could differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) the information is of a preliminary nature and may be subject to further and/or continuing review and adjustment; (2) regulatory actions, particularly changes in rate regulation and environmental regulations; (3) current and future litigation; (4) changes in the economy, especially in areas served by subsidiaries of SCANA Corporation (SCANA); (5) the impact of competition from other energy suppliers, including competition from alternate fuels in industrial interruptible markets; (6) growth opportunities for SCANA's regulated and diversified subsidiaries; (7) the results of financing efforts; (8) changes in SCANA's or its subsidiaries' accounting rules and accounting policies; (9) the effects of weather, including drought, especially in areas where the Company's generation and transmission facilities are located and in areas served by SCANA's subsidiaries; (10) payment by counterparties as and when due; (11) the results of efforts to license, site and construct facilities for baseload electric generation; (12) the availability of fuels such as coal, natural gas and enriched uranium used to produce electricity; the availability of purchased power and natural gas for distribution; the level and volatility of future market prices for such fuels and purchased power; and the ability to recover the costs for such fuels and purchased power; (13) performance of SCANA's pension plan assets; (14) inflation; (15) compliance with regulations; and (16) the other risks and uncertainties described from time to time in the periodic reports filed by SCANA or South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
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|Date:||Jun 15, 2009|
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