Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) announced today that South Carolina regulators have approved an approximate 8.2% rate hike for Duke's state customers, to be implemented over a two-year period.

For Duke, the rate hike equates to a $118.6 million increase in sales. Prices will head higher in the first year, with the average residential user paying 6.9% more per month for electricity. In the following year, rate increases will slow to 3.3%. 

"The approved settlement will allow us to keep the rate increase as low as we reasonably can, and still recover the investments we've made to modernize our system and to ensure safe, reliable and increasingly clean electricity for the future," said Duke Energy South Carolina State President Clark Gillespy in a statement today.

Regulators gave the go-ahead for Duke to grab a 10.2% return on equity, as well as a capital structure that puts equity at 53% and debt at 47%. As part of the agreement, Duke will also contribute $1 million to local education and senior outreach programs, as well as $2.5 million for various public assistance programs.

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