SCANA Corp. subsidiary PSNC Energy has entered into a settlement agreement with staff of the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) and the Carolina Utility Customers Association that provides for an increase in PSNC Energy’s annual natural gas margin revenues of approximately $9.1 million, or 1.32% — nearly 56% less than the $20.4 million increase PSNC had requested. The settlement agreement also includes a reduction in PSNC fixed gas costs, which represents a pass-through for the company, of approximately $8.4 million and establishes an allowed return on common equity of 10.6%. The agreement also allows PSNC to implement a rate decoupling mechanism, which breaks the link between revenues and the amount of natural gas sold, allowing the company to periodically adjust its base rates based on customer consumption. If approved by the NCUC, the settlement agreement will become effective on Nov. 1. In June the NCUC approved an increase to the purchased gas component of the company’s retail natural gas rates, effective with July bills. The increase raised the company’s residential rate by 15%, taking it from approximately $1.50/therm to approximately $1.72/therm. Gastonia, NC-based PSNC distributes gas to approximately 458,000 customers in 28 North Carolina counties.
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