Progress Energy Carolinas has filed a request with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina to lower the fuel rate charged to its South Carolina customers.

If approved, the decrease will result in a monthly fuel-charge savings of $2.73 for a residential customer using 1,000kWh. Meanwhile, the company has also filed this week for an increase in the portion of customer bills used to pay for energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs.

That increase, an additional $1.09 per month for a residential customer using 1,000kWh, reflects an increased number of efficiency programs and measures made available to South Carolina customers in the last year, the company said. The net impact of the two changes is a reduction of $1.64 per month on a residential 1,000kWh bill, or nearly $20 in savings over the next year.

For the residential customer using 1,000kWh, the total monthly bill will be reduced to $99.26 from the current $100.90, if the request is approved. The new rate is scheduled to take effect from July 1.

The costs of coal, natural gas and other fuels, which had risen in the middle of the last decade, have decreased in the last two years, as more expensive fuel-supply contracts expire and are replaced with lower-cost contracts. Average customer electricity use also has stabilized, due in part to the generally slow economy, and that has reduced overall electricity production costs, the company said.

If approved as requested, the average decrease will be about 1.7% for residential customers; 2.6% for commercial customers and about 4.3% for industrial customers.

The fuel portion of the company’s rates is adjusted annually by the commission to reflect the actual cost of fuel the utility uses to produce electricity to meet customer demand. By law, Progress Energy does not make a profit from the fuel charge.

The company also files annually to recover the costs of implementing programs designed to help reduce energy consumption and save customers money on their energy bills.