Lawmakers vote to cut rates $151M

Lawmakers vote to cut rates $151M

Lexington County Chronicle
February 21, 2019

Secured bonds save $$ for Dominion ratepayers

By Jerry Bellune

SC senators were to vote this week to save Dominion ratepayers $151 million.

A Senate subcommittee plans a public hearing on Senate Bill 110 introduced by Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey.

His bill allows Dominion Energy and other utilities to sell low-interest bonds by “securitization,” a process not now legal in the state.

This will save ratepayers millions when utilities try to recover costs from storms and problems such as SC Electric & Gas’s failed $9 billion nuclear project that Dominion now owns.

Massey’s bill will let the state secure $2.3 billion in bonds to pay off SCANA’s share of the failure on which ratepayers have already had to pay $2 billion.

Massey, who represents western Lexington County, told the Chronicle he expects SCE&G’s new owners at Dominion to fight his bill to cut its borrowing costs.

Dominion can pocket a 9.9% profit the Public Service Commission approved if it does traditional bonding, according to SC Small Business Chamber CEO Frank Knapp, Jr.

A 9.9% profit on $2.3 billion would let Dominion pocket $227 million more of 727,000 ratepayers’ money.

Massey’s bill will lower interest rates to about 3.3% or $75.9 million, but Dominion would not profit from it.

Secured interest rates are much lower because the state guarantees payment.