SC utility files for 9.5 percent rate hike

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. is asking for a 9.5 percent increase in retail electric rates.

The Columbia company, a subsidiary of Scana Corp., said Friday it’s asking the state Public Service Commission to approve the increase primarily to recover the cost of complying with government environmental regulations.

SCE&G president Kevin Marsh says it’s the utility’s first general increase since 2007. Marsh says he’s asking that the increase be divided into three phases of about 3 percent each, over 18 months, to ease the impact on customers.

The company says if regulators agree, the typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity would see a monthly increase of $3.91 in July, $3.77 in January, 2011 and an additional $4.01 in July 2011.

The PSC is expected to hold hearings on the request in the spring.