Anti-utility law group alarmed by higher rates

Lexington County Chronicle
August 11, 2016

By Jerry Bellune

S.C. Electric & Gas customers aren’t the only ones facing nuclear rate hikes.

The Stop the Blank Check Coalition has warned that Duke Energy customers are next in line for significant rate increases.

Coalition officials said their efforts to amend the state’s controversial Base Load Review Act next year have taken on a significant new urgency due to Duke’s plans to build two nuclear plants near Gaffney.

Duke needs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval later this year.

The Commission reported finding no safety issues for the proposed plants.

“All eyes have been on SCE&G and Santee Cooper building two nuclear plants three years behind schedule and billions over budget,” said Frank Knapp, of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

“Duke Energy wants to build its nuclear plants using the same state law that has turned into a blank check for SCE&G.

“We must learn from our legislative mistakes and correct them to protect Duke customers down the road.”

The coalition advocates a lower SCE&G rate hike this year and a smaller increase in construction costs.

Both will be subject to Public Service Commission approval this fall.

Coalition members are: S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce, S.C. League of Women Voters, S.C. Sierra Club, National Association of Social Workers-SC Chapter, New Alpha Community Development Corporation, Sustainable Midlands, Carolina Peace Resource Center, Kingdom Living Temple and the Whitney M. Slater Foundation.

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