Recent Wins at the PSC: Ratepayers Showed Up, Regulators Listened
Over the holidays, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy Progress both asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) for huge bill increases. In response, ratepayers showed up in a big way, asking questions, submitting written comments, and showing up to hearings virtually and in person. After this strong public showing, we got some encouraging results from regulators—as you can see from the updates below.
Duke Energy Progress: Positive Signals
In a far-reaching request, Duke Energy Progress asked to raise rates by nearly 19% over the next three years. Following an overwhelming response at public hearings, they agreed to reduce the request to about 8% through 2025. On top of this, Duke also agreed to help customers save money through new energy efficiency programs.
We were excited to see the PSC step up for ratepayers in this case. Commissioners asked for detailed plans on protecting customers from skyrocketing bills and embraced energy efficiency as an important cost-saving tool. Public participation showed the PSC a strong need for change, and they responded by holding utilities accountable.
Dominion Energy: Good News for Now
Dominion Energy also requested a bill hike last year, asking for nearly 14% to cover rising fossil fuel costs. Utilities can raise rates to cover all costs of buying fuel to burn in power plants. (This is another reason to support clean energy like solar—no fuel to buy!) After an impressive turnout at the public hearing, Dominion agreed to drop the request to 6%. This is absolutely a win for customer bills, but Dominion has already requested another bill increase of about 6% in 2023.
Looking to the Future
Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done at the PSC. Here are three big issues to watch for in 2023:
- More bill hikes. Utilities will continue to ask customers to pay rising fossil fuel costs. These relentless hikes show how important it is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and increase investments in affordable clean energy and energy efficiency.
- Resource planning. All major utilities—plus, for the first time, Santee Cooper—will submit long-term resource plans to the PSC this year. These plans determine how utilities will generate their power for the next decade. With coal plant closures on the horizon, this is a historic opportunity to build out clean energy in our state.
- Natural gas pipeline regulations. Regulations designed to protect communities and the environment during pipeline construction are scheduled for a hearing in April. CVSC supports these regulations, and we’ll need your help to share your voice as this process continues.
We’ve seen several recent wins for ratepayers at the PSC, but challenges will continue to arise. CVSC will continue its updates and share action opportunities throughout the year. If you have any questions about the PSC, please contact Energy Project Manager Jalen Brooks-Knepfle at [email protected].