Duke Energy will seek an overall 14.5 percent rate increase for 168,000 customers in northeastern South Carolina.
Duke said it would be the first increase in base rates for those customers in 28 years. The S.C. Public Service Commission would have to approve the rate hike.
The $79 million increase in revenues would pay for new natural gas-fired power plants that are replacing those fueled by coal. The base rate increase would be partly offset by a $16 million reduction in fuel charges that took effect Friday.
If approved, average rates for residential customers would go up $16.60 a month starting in January.
Duke has spent $1.7 billion in recent years on three gas-fired power plants in North Carolina that also serve S.C. customers. The higher rates would also include the costs of four new solar farms in the Carolinas and Duke’s $1.3 billion purchase of jointly-owned generation from a N.C. agency that serves municipal electricity customers.