Media Contact (PSNC Energy):
Columbia, SC, Aug. 17, 2006 - PSNC Energy, a subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG) that distributes natural gas in North Carolina, announced today that it has entered into a stipulation, or settlement agreement with the Public Staff of the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Carolina Utility Customers Association relating to the company’s pending application for an increase in retail natural gas base rates. The settlement agreement will be submitted to the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) during a public hearing scheduled for Aug. 22 in Raleigh. If approved by the NCUC, the settlement agreement would become effective on Nov. 1, 2006.
The settlement agreement provides for an increase in PSNC Energy’s annual natural gas margin revenues of approximately $15.2 million, or 2.6 percent, which is about 54 percent of the $28.4 million, or 4.9 percent, increase requested by the company. That reduction was due primarily to changes in the capital structure and cost of capital and to expense adjustments. The settlement agreement also includes a reduction in PSNC Energy’s fixed gas costs, which represents a pass-through for the company, of approximately $9.2 million. This results in a net annual increase in rates and charges to customers of approximately $6 million, or 1 percent.
“Whenever we can settle a rate case, it’s always in the best interest of all involved,” said Rusty Harris, PSNC Energy’s president and chief operating officer. “While we were prepared to demonstrate our need for the full amount of our initial request, we believe we can operate our system reliably and efficiently based upon this increase in our base rates. We hope the Commission will approve the settlement agreement as submitted.”
The test period for this case is the twelve months ended Dec. 31, 2005, adjusted for certain changes through June 30, 2006. The rates proposed in the settlement agreement are based on an original cost rate base of approximately $620 million and an overall rate of return on rate base of 8.9 percent, which reflects a capital structure consisting of long-term and short-term debt and common equity.
PSNC Energy’s application filed on April 3, 2006, and the stipulation agreement filed on Aug. 16, 2006, are available on the Commission’s web site at www.ncuc.net. To access either of these filings, click on “Docket Search” under the heading “Docket Information” and enter Docket No.G-5, SUB 481.
PSNC Energy, headquartered in Gastonia, N.C., is franchised to serve a 28-county service area in North Carolina. The utility distributes natural gas to approximately 421,000 customers in 96 cities and communities, including the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill areas in the north central part of the state; the Concord, Statesville, Gastonia, and Forest City areas in the Piedmont; and the Asheville, Hendersonville, Brevard, and Sylva areas in the western part of the state. More information about PSNC Energy is available through the company’s web site at www.psncenergy.com.
SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Columbia, S.C., is an energy-based holding company principally engaged, through subsidiaries, in electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses. The company serves approximately 617,000 electric customers in South Carolina and more than one million natural gas customers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Information about SCANA and its businesses is available on the company’s website at www.scana.com.
SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT
Statements included in this press release which are not statements of historical fact are intended to be, and are hereby identified as, "forward-looking statements" for purposes of the safe harbor provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and that actual results could differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) that the information is of a preliminary nature and may be subject to further and/or continuing review and adjustment, (2) regulatory actions or changes in the utility and nonutility regulatory environment, (3) current and future litigation, (4) changes in the economy, especially in areas served by subsidiaries of SCANA, (5) the impact of competition from other energy suppliers, including competition from alternate fuels in industrial interruptible markets, (6) growth opportunities for SCANA's regulated and diversified subsidiaries, (7) the results of financing efforts, (8) changes in accounting principles, (9) weather conditions, especially in areas served by SCANA's subsidiaries, (10) performance of SCANA's pension plan assets, (11) inflation, (12) changes in environmental regulations, (13) volatility in commodity natural gas markets and (14) the other risks and uncertainties described from time to time in SCANA's periodic reports filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. SCANA disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.