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Greenville Business Magazine

Fuel savings will decrease bills for Duke Energy Progress customers this summer

Apr 28, 2020 09:21AM ● By David Dykes

By David Dykes

Duke Energy Progress is proposing a decrease in monthly fuel costs for its South Carolina customers beginning this summer as part of an annual adjustment of the actual cost of fuel used to generate electricity at its power plants.

Duke Energy Progress serves about 169,000 customers in the northeastern part of South Carolina, including Darlington, Florence and Sumter counties.

Duke Energy Progress makes a fuel cost recovery filing annually with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina. The fuel rate is based on the projected cost of fuel used to provide electric service to the company's customers, plus a so-called "true-up" of the prior year's projection. By law, the company makes no profit from the fuel component of rates.

The company made its annual fuel filing April 27. If approved by the PSCSC, the new fuel rates would go into effect July 1, Duke officials said.

Under the proposal, typical residential customers using 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month would see their bills decrease from the current $124.98 to $120.87, a decrease of $4.11, or 3.3 percent, the officials said.

Commercial customers would see an average decrease in their bills of about 1.6 percent, and industrial customers would receive an average decrease of about 2.9 percent.

The primary reason for the proposed overall decrease in rates is the decreasing price of natural gas, Duke officials said.

The officials said Duke Energy Progress works to actively manage its fuel contracts to keep fuel costs as low as possible for customers. Savings achieved from the joint dispatch of Duke Energy's generation fleet in the Carolinas also help to minimize the company's fuel costs, company officials said. The PSCSC reviews fuel costs and adjusts the fuel component of customer rates accordingly.

The proposed decrease would affect the bills of all Duke Energy Progress customers in South Carolina. The company's other South Carolina utility -- Duke Energy Carolinas -- will make its annual fuel filing in July.

Duke Energy Progress, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns nuclear, coal, natural gas, renewables and hydroelectric generation. That fuel mix provides about 12,700 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.6 million customers in a 32,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina, according to Duke officials.