Opinion: Let’s Put the SC PSC to Work

Opinion: Let’s Put the SC PSC to Work

By Scott Carlberg, Executive Director 0f Energy Consumers of the Carolinas

South Carolina just swore-in four new members for its Public Service Commission, the group that oversees the utility industry in the state. With this change there are no commissioners left who were part of the VC Summer project problem.

For all purposes, it is a new PSC ball game. BUT, a huge gap remains. More on that in a second.

First, good work, SC General Assembly! You have new blood in this important organization. The new commissioners provide various energy and business viewpoints. There ought to be constructive debates and decisions ahead.

Second, the goal now: Put the PSC to work. Let the PSC work. No second guessing. Support them.

Third, most of all – don’t do half the job, General Assembly.

Here is the gap. Santee Cooper remains the unregulated rogue energy entity. Risk remains. No control.

A new, high-quality PSC is toothless when it comes to Santee Cooper. The PSC stands aside for Santee Cooper even as it regulates Duke Energy and Dominion Energy.

Appropriate? Logical?

Apply logic. General Assembly, with a new PSC in place, protect your citizens, manage the risk, show discipline. Sell Santee Cooper. Get the Santee Cooper problem out of the General Assembly, move on to other business.

Make sure Santee Cooper customers (e.g., citizens, voters) benefit from the PSC you put in place. Sell Santee Cooper to an investor-owned utility so there is consistent regulation across most of the state.

The South Carolina General Assembly has stark choices:

  • More of the same surprises or top-flight planning and execution with NextEra.
  • More babysitting Santee Cooper or delegating energy work to one of the best utilities in the nation.
  • A poor project track record or a track record of renewable and infrastructure completions.
  • Promises of “reform” or proven capabilities.
  • Being left behind in energy or taking a lead.
  • Good-ole-boyism or a culture of diversity and inclusion.

In this election season, citizens are blasted with messages of officeholders being ready to do the right thing, watch waste, take a tough stand, and make sure that the average citizen is not hurt. The sale of Santee Cooper is a perfect litmus test for those claims.

  • Will the General Assembly affirm its confidence in its new PSC commissioners by selling Santee Cooper and making it part of that system?
  • Will officeholders condone the state running a power business in the face of its failures?
  • Will officeholders bring in a multi-billion sale for the state or support a multi-billion past-due bill for Santee Cooper consumers?

Let’s finish the job, General Assembly.

Put the SC PSC to Work on Santee Cooper