COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's utility regulatory agency on Wednesday ordered an end to SCE&G's complicated bill-adjusting program.
The utility will discontinue its Electric Weather Normalization Adjustment following the unanimous vote by the seven-member Public Service Commission. Beginning in January, customers' bills will reflect their actual electricity usage.
"This is a good holiday gift for folks," said Patrick Cobb, spokesman for AARP South Carolina, which intervened on members' behalf.
The program was designed in 2010 to protect customers against billing spikes during extreme weather. But the agency that represents the public in utility issues said last month it's so complex, only SCE&G can determine if customers are being correctly charged.
While it's a good idea in theory, it's worrisome that only the utility can make and verify the calculations, said Dukes Scott, executive director of the Office of Regulatory Staff.
SCE&G later filed a joint petition agreeing with that agency's recommendations to end it. AARP also signed on to the agreement.
But the Public Service Commission had the final say. The last adjustments will be made on bills issued from December meter readings.
The commission also agreed to let SCE&G spend up to $300,000 to promote its budget billing program, which averages customers' usage costs over a year. The three-stage campaign will extend into mid-2014.