PSC costs ratepayers $31.7M. Regulators side with Dominion on rate cuts

PSC costs ratepayers $31.7M. Regulators side with Dominion on rate cuts

Lexington County Chronicle
February 14, 2019

By Jerry Bellune

A state regulators’ ruling will cost Dominion Energy ratepayers $31.7 million.

The ratepayers will receive $67 million in lower rates from the federal tax cuts which began last year.

Had the Public Service Commission followed Office of Regulatory Staff findings, ratepayers would have received $98.7 million.

That’s $31.7 million more than the PSC ruled Dominion must pay based on the company’s reported 2017 cost of services.

This means 727,000 ratepayers will pay about $700 million for the abandoned nuclear plant, said SC Small Business Chamber CEO Frank Knapp, Jr.

Dominion insisted on only a 15% rate reduction and $2.3 billion of the nuclear construction costs to be paid by the ratepayers.

ORS Executive Director Nanette Edwards told the Chronicle her office had recommended the PSC order Dominion to pay $98.7 based on 2011 cost of services. That was the last rate change before the 9 nuclear rate hikes under a controversial state law.

Dominion, the new owners of SC Electric & Gas and Lexington County-based SCANA, tried to delay using the tax refunds for its Virginia customers but was forced by regulators to share the refunds, SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp, Jr. said.

Unlike Dominion, Duke Energy which serves northern SC, “took care of its NC customers,” Knapp said.
“In SC, I understand, it has a plan to pass the tax refund to ratepayers.”

Two other southeaster electric utilities, NextEra and Georgia Power (Southern), voluntarily and quickly used the refunds to benefit all their ratepayers. The refunds came from federal tax reform savings.

“Why didn’t [SCANA] start giving it to the ratepayers last year like most other utilities did?” Knapp asked.