Duke Energy's (NYSE:DUK) Carolinas subsidiary has reached a compromise that includes a lower rate increase than it had wanted. The utility announced Tuesday that South Carolina regulators have cut its rate-increase request nearly in half, dropping its annual increase in retail revenue from the $220 million it had requested to about $119 million.
The original request would've increased retail revenues by 15.1%. With the new agreement, rates will edge up 8.16% over a two-year period.
"We believe the settlement reflects an appropriate balance between the needs of our company and those of our customers," said Duke's South Carolina State President Clark Gillespy in a statement. "If approved, this agreement will allow us to keep the rate increase to customers 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."
Duke has also agreed to hold off on additional rate increase requests until September 2015, and will contribute $3.5 million to various public assistance programs, including the subsidization of low-income household electricity bills.
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas, and hydroelectric generation facilities. It provides some 20,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to 2.4 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile area of North Carolina and South Carolina.