February Dominion Energy bills contained extra one-time credit

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Some Dominion Energy customers found a pleasant surprise in their February bills.

Those bills were sent out as early as Feb. 5, but for customers who have auto-pay, they may only now be noticing the lower amount when they see it debited from their bank accounts over the next few days.

One viewer reported finding nearly a $100 credit in his February SCE&G bill. Another said the bill for February was only about a third of a normal bill.

The lower-than-normal bills are the result of two kinds of cuts, according to Dominion Energy spokesman Paul Fischer.

The first is an already-promised rate reduction that drops the average bill 15 percent, or about $22 compared with January 2018, Fischer said. That discount was part of the merger, replacing a one-time $1,000 rebate that was originally suggested when Dominion Energy first proposed its merger with SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA Corporation.

Plans changed before that happened. The company said that over the course of the regulatory proceedings, it became aware of support from policymakers for a plan that focused more on long-term bill relief instead of up-front refunds.

So Dominion swapped the one-time rebate with what it described as stable, long-term bill relief that moved typical monthly bills well below the national average, providing more value to SCE&G customers over 20 years, Fischer said.

But the second cut in this particular bill is the result of a one-time tax credit that covers the effect of 2018 federal tax reform. Fischer said the one-time tax credit is listed as a separate line item on customers’ bills so they can see both the impact of that credit and estimate what their bill would have been without it.

The March bill won’t include the tax cut but will still have the 15 percent rate reduction.

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