Rate increases at South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. helped boost profits at its parent company by $30 million in the first quarter, up 25 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

SCANA Corp. earned $151 million, or $1.11 per share, the company said Thursday.

The per-share figure handily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.03.

“Financially, margins were higher than last year due to continued customer growth as well as rate increases at South Carolina Electric & Gas Company and improved results in our Georgia businesses,” said Jimmy Addison, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The power rate increases helped boost earnings at SCE&G to $92 million, a 28 percent gain from the first quarter of 2012.

As of March 31, SCE&G served about 673,000 electric customers and approximately 325,000 natural gas customers, up 0.8 percent and 1.8 percent respectively, compared to that date last year.

The utility’s parent company also owns natural gas businesses in North Carolina and Georgia, as well several smaller subsidiaries

Cayce-based SCANA held its annual meeting of shareholders Thursday in Columbia. Afterward, the board approved a dividend of 50¾ cents per share of common stock payable July 1 to shareholders of record on June 10.