Small Business Chamber Calls for Evaluation of SCE&G Rate Increases
31% Higher Electricity Rates in 7 Years Costly to Consumers
Charleston, SC—The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and AARP-SC today called for an independent evaluation of the Base Load Review Act (Act) that has permitted SCE&G to increase electricity rates by over 17 percent in seven years if the current rate hike request is granted by the S.C. Public Service Commission. These rate increases have been to pay for the construction financing of the two nuclear plants in Fairfield County. Added to regular cost of operational rate increases, SCE&G will have raised its electricity rates by over 31 percent in the past seven years.
“The Public Service Commission deserves an independent economic assessment to answer the question of whether SCE&G has been ‘prudent’ in incurring all costs associated with the construction,” said Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of the Small Business Chamber. “The consumers definitely need an answer to this question.” (Mr. Knapp’s full statement can be read here.)
The two nuclear plants are several years behind schedule and approximately $1.3 billion over budget. “Wouldn’t it be more prudent for increased costs due to schedule delays and overruns be the responsibility of the SCE&G shareholders that can demand accountability from the company? Is it really prudent to reward SCE&G with more profits as a result of higher costs from the delays and overruns on a project it controls?” asked Mr. Knapp.
Mr. Knapp pointed out that the higher electricity rates due to the Act have harmed local economies and small businesses. “So SCE&G small business customers are losing twice. Their electricity bills are higher than expected and their customers have fewer dollars to spend with them.”
Mr. Knapp contended that the South Carolina General Assembly should explore changes to the Act and possibly develop “some legislative fix to give the SCE&G customers some needed relief.”