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Carbon tax: S.C. utilities wary of proposal

Federal legislation that would charge utilities a tariff on greenhouse gases emitted from power plants could increase electric bills for some S.C. consumers by 50 percent, utility officials said.

The measure, which a U.S. House energy panel will take up this week, is designed to fight global warming by lowering carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, it would encourage utilities to develop clean energy sources like solar and wind power.

But in a state like South Carolina, which relies on coal — a source of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide — to generate 61 percent of its electricity, the proposal could lead to as much as a 50 percent hike in electric bills, utility officials say.

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