Piedmont Natural Gas files rate adjustment in South Carolina for investments to better serve customers

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  • Request seeks to increase the average residential customer bill in South Carolina by just under $4 per month, or $46 per year.

  • Allocation of costs to residential, commercial, industrial customers will be reviewed during proceeding.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Piedmont Natural Gas today filed a request with the South Carolina Public Service Commission to recover recent capital investments and update its operating costs and billing rates through a general rate case proceeding.

The capital investments allow Piedmont to comply with federal regulations, build needed infrastructure, and provide safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to customers.

If approved, Piedmont anticipates the rates will go into effect by October 1, with the typical residential customer in South Carolina paying, on average, just under $4 more per month, or $46 more per year.

“We work to keep costs as low as possible while continuing to reliably and safely serve our customers,” said Sasha Weintraub, Piedmont Natural Gas senior vice president and president. “These investments are critical to strengthening and modernizing our system to meet the service needs of our customers and growing communities.”

The overall revenue increase allocated to Piedmont’s customer groups – residential, commercial and industrial – is 3.4%.

Piedmont serves about 157,000 customers in Anderson, Spartanburg, Greenville and Cherokee counties in South Carolina. Piedmont’s last general rate case proceeding in South Carolina was in 2002.

Piedmont has adjusted rates through incremental changes since 2005 when the Natural Gas Rate Stabilization Act (RSA) was enacted into state law. The RSA allows Piedmont to adjust rates annually in order to align with its capital spending and changes in operating costs needed to continue to provide safe and reliable natural gas service to customers. Piedmont agreed with the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff in 2019 to file a general rate case no later than April 1, 2022 to conduct a more comprehensive review of rates including the allocation of costs to residential, commercial and industrial customers.

“Many of these investments were required for us to safely operate in our communities, but we know some customers may be facing economic hardships that can make any price increase challenging,” Weintraub said. “There are a variety of ways customers can manage their bills through assistance programs, the equal payment plan program and using energy saving-tools.”

Equal Payment Program (EPP)

This free service helps customers manage their budgets by eliminating high winter bills. The EPP program levels out a customer’s natural gas bills, allowing them to pay a predictable, equal monthly amount to help avoid billing surprises. Piedmont determines this payment by adding up a customer’s annual natural gas usage and then dividing it into the same payment amount each month. Learn more here.

Assistance for customers in need

Share the Warmth provides funds to local agencies to assist families with their utility bills, no matter the source of energy they use.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) provides winter heating assistance to pay for gas, electric and other methods customers use to heat their homes. There are many customers who are eligible but do not apply for this annual federal benefit that can reduce heating costs for low-income families. More information: http://oeo.sc.gov/liheap.html

Energy-saving tools

Piedmont Natural Gas also offers a variety of energy-saving tools to help customers and our communities identify ways to save money and energy all year long. These programs and tools help customers understand what factors are impacting their natural gas bills and emphasize specific actions they can take to reduce the impacts of high winter usage.­­­­­­­­

Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, distributes natural gas to more than 1.1 million residential, commercial, industrial and power generation customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Piedmont is routinely recognized by J.D. Power for excellent customer satisfaction, and has been named by Cogent Reports as one of the most trusted utility brands in the U.S. More information: piedmontng.com. Follow Piedmont Natural Gas: Twitter, Facebook.

Media contact: Meghan Miles
Media Line: 877.348.3612