SCE&G said that its need for rate relief was driven primarily by costs associated with government-mandated environmental and safety initiatives.

The approved increase was presented to the commission in late May as part of a stipulation SCE&G had reached with several parties in the case. The stipulation included agreement by SCE&G to factor certain credits into its rates over the next two years, including a one-time credit of $25m.

With those credits factored in, the full amount of the 4.88% increase actually won’t be reflected on customer bills until July 2012, the company said.

The PSC also approved the use of a weather normalization adjustment on a 12-month trial basis to help reduce the impact of extremely hot or cold weather on electric bills.

SCE&G is a regulated public utility engaged in generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 659,000 customers throughout central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 313,000 customers throughout the state.