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Orangeburg’s Department of Utilities is planning natural gas and electric rate increases.

City Council gave second of three readings to the increases during Tuesday's meeting.

Council also gave second reading to a $21.8 million budget that includes a two-mill property tax increase.

Both were passed unanimously.

The City of Orangeburg’s budget year begins Oct. 1.

DPU’s budget anticipates an 11.09 percent growth in revenue next year, from $101 million to $113 million.

The proposed expenses are $98 million, which is a 5.7 percent increase from the $92.7 million in expenses for the current fiscal year.

The utility will be transferring a total of $5.6 million of its net income to the City of Orangeburg’s general fund.

The electric rate increases involve several services.

For small general services, which covers most homes, the distribution charge for the first 500 kWh will be $.038 per kWh, and $.0304 per kWh once 500 kWh is exceeded.

The service charge will be $12 per meter per month, a $3 increase from the current charge.

For medium general services, the distribution charge for the first 1,000 kWh will be $.036 per kWh and $.03 once 1,000 kWh is exceeded. The service charge will be $29 per meter per month, a $6.50 increase from the current charge.

For small demand service, the distribution demand charge will be $7.75 per kW of billing demand, a $1.40 increase from the current charge. The monthly service charge will increase to $125, which is a $25 increase.

The time-of-use service on-peak billing demand will increase to $8, which is a $1.25 increase. The distribution energy charge for on-peak, shoulder and off-peak will be $0.027 per kWh. The monthly service charge will increase to $29.

For medium demand, the distribution demand charge for all kW will be $6.75 per kW of billing demand. The service charge will be $350 per meter per month, which is a $25 increase.

For large demand service, the distribution demand charge for all kW will be $5.40 per kW of billing demand. The service charge will be $500 per meter per month, which is a $50 increase.

The lighting and pole rate for standard low intensity is $7.50 per lamp per month, for custom low intensity is $16.50 per lamp per month. For standard medium intensity, the charge per lamp per month will be $14.25. For custom medium intensity, the charge per lamp per month will be $19.50, and for custom medium intensity–city the charge per lamp per month will be $35.

For standard high intensity, the charge per lamp per month will be $20.50. The charge per pole per month for each additional wood pole will be $3.10; for fiberglass, it will be $13.75 and for aluminum, it will be $33.25.

The interdepartmental interruptible service distribution charge for off-peak charge will be $0.0255 per kWh.

The gas rate increases will also involve several services.

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The distribution charge for small general service will be $0.35 per therm delivered. The service charge will be $10, which is a $1.50 increase.

The distribution charge for medium general service will be $0.315 per therm delivered. The service charge will increase to $22 per month, which is a $4 increase.

The distribution charge for large general service will be $2.40 per dekatherm delivered. The service charge will be $125 per bill, which is a $25 increase.

The distribution charge for small general service for special projects will be $0.305 per therm delivered.

The distribution charge for medium general service for special projects will be $0.315 per therm delivered.

The department also detailed several capital projects it plans to pursue in the upcoming year.

Administrative Division

A new operations center will be built at 350 Sprinkle Ave. The total cost of the project is $15 million. To date, $750,000 has been spent on the project, and $14,250,000 will be spent on the project during fiscal year 2019-2020.

Electric Division

• Substation 18 on Cannon Bridge Road is being rebuilt. The rebuild will cost a total of $6.2 million. To date, $1.6 million has been spent and $2.9 million will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

• Substation 1 on Bull Street is being rebuilt. The rebuild will cost a total of $2.9 million. To date, $1.2 million has been spent on the project, and $1.7 million will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

• Substation 12 on Berry Street is being rebuilt. The rebuild will cost $2.9 million. To date, $1.9 million has been spent on the project, and $1 million will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

Natural Gas Division

• Improvements will be made to the gas service along U.S. Highway 33. The $590,000 project will replace approximately 10,500 feet of 6-inch steel gas main. To date, $520,000 has been spent on the project, and $70,000 will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

• Improvements will be made to the gas service along Russell Street. The $780,000 project will replace approximately 7,500 feet of 4-inch plastic gas main. To date, $715,000 has been spent on the project, and $65,000 will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

• Improvements will be made to the natural gas service in the Belleville Road area. The $1.1 million project will replace approximately 17,000 feet of 2-inch and 4-inch gas main.

• The U.S. Highway 301 bridge pipe will be replaced due to the bridge replacement. The $760,000 project will replace approximately 2,000 feet of 8-inch steel pipe. New valves will also be installed. To date, $10,000 has been spent on the project, and $100,000 will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

• Project Rock involves the installation of 16,000 feet of 6-inch steel gas main. The project will cost $900,000. Construction is projected to take five months.

Water Division

• The 1954 high-service pump station, diesel engine-driven pumps and chlorine scrubber will be upgraded. The upgrades will improve the reliability of finished water pumping capacity at the water treatment plant, according to DPU officials. The total cost of the project is $2.9 million. To date, $2.1 million has been spent on the project, and $780,000 will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

• A 12-inch water main across the North Fork of the Edisto River will be relocated due to the U.S. 301 bridge replacement. The project will cost $1.6 million.

• Sludge collectors 12-16 and flocculators 1-3 will be replaced at the water treatment plant. The project will cost $2 million.

Wastewater Division

• The utility will be replacing its biosolids dryer. The new dryer will cost $5.2 million. To date, $200,000 has been spent on the project, and $5 million will be spent on the project during FY 19-20.

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Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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