U.S. Markets close in 3 hrs 47 mins

Duke Power asks for 16 percent rate hike in SC

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- Duke Energy Corp. wants to raise utility rates for its South Carolina residential customers by 16 percent.

The utility company asked state regulators for permission for the rate hike Monday. Duke Energy said it would raise the power rate for a homeowner who uses 1,000 kilowatts of power a month by $18 to around $118.

Duke Energy also is asking for a 14 percent increase in rates for industrial customers.

Officials said the utility needs the additional money to recoup what it has already paid for new power plants and equipment to comply with regulations.

Public hearings on the rate increase will likely be this summer. Duke Energy last raised rates in February 2012.

Duke Energy has 540,000 customers in South Carolina.