New Rates Approved for Duke Energy Carolinas Customers in South Carolina

July 9, 2024

The Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) has approved new customer rates based on a settlement agreement with almost all parties in the Duke Energy Carolinas rate review request filed with the commission in January of this year.

The changes in customer rates – which remain below the national average – come after a lengthy and very public process evaluating a request to recover investments made to increase system diversity and reliability, enhance the customer experience and meet future energy demands for nearly 660,000 customers primarily in the Upstate region of South Carolina.

The agreement with almost all parties, including certain consumer, environmental and industrial groups in South Carolina, was submitted in May. The agreement was reached with the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, the South Carolina Energy Users Committee, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Coastal Conservation League, Vote Solar, and the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. While not signatories to the agreement, both Walmart and CMC Recycling did not object to approval of the agreement.

Rate impacts

Beginning Aug. 1, 2024, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours will see an increase of about 8.7% or $12.06 per month. Beginning Aug. 1, 2026, residential rates will increase another 4.3% resulting in an additional $6.42 per month for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2024, commercial and industrial customers will see an average increase of around 4.6% and 4.4%, respectively (actual rates vary by customer class and size).

The net increase reflects the company’s proposal to mitigate the requested rate increase by accelerating over two years the return of excess deferred income tax benefits resulting from the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“Tax Act”). This reduction would expire after two years.

Provisions of the settlement agreement approved by the PSCSC include recovery of new investments in highly efficient natural gas, nuclear, solar and hydroelectric units, as well as recovery of the company’s significant investments in the grid and its new corporate headquarters. The order also allows the company to establish rates based upon a return on equity of 9.94% and an equity component of the capital structure of 51.21%, as agreed to in the settlement. The final order revised recovery of certain environmental compliance costs, the only provision of the settlement agreement not fully approved by the PSCSC.

Providing support for customers

The PSCSC also approved – at shareholder expense – $2 million to perform a study and convene a collaborative of stakeholders to evaluate a broad spectrum of regulatory programs and protections for low-income customers, ranging from affordability programs, potential new tariffs, and other initiatives focused on enhancing assistance for low-income customers; and to help low-income customers complete health and safety repairs, which will allow for an increase in customer participation in programs that enable energy savings, such as the South Carolina Local Weatherization Assistance Program.

Duke Energy has numerous current and proposed energy efficiency programsavailable to customers who would like to exercise more control over their usage to lower their bills, which could help minimize the impact of the requested increase. Customers struggling to pay their energy bills might also qualify for assistance from various government and nonprofit programs for utility bills and other household expenses. Duke Energy also offers programs and resources to help customers manage their usage to lessen the impact of rate changes, as well as flexible payment arrangements to help customers experiencing uncertainty. Additional customer support is available through the Share the Light Fund, a Duke Energy program that provides energy assistance.

To learn more about these programs, visit