For the past four months South Carolina state legislators have publicly sworn, almost to a person, to rollback SCE&G rates associated with the nuclear debacle in Fairfield County and take action to make sure that such a disaster never happens again.
But here we are with just 6 days remaining in the legislative session and SCE&G is very close to defeating every legislative promise to the consumer on this issue.
If that happens, SCE&G ratepayers will continue paying on average $27 more a month to cover the construction costs of the now abandoned nuclear plants thanks to an unchanged Base Load Review Act, which led to this economic disaster.
SCE&G shareholders, management and lobbyists will be thrilled that the gravy train will keep on rolling. Dominion Energy will be licking its chops to acquire the SCE&G money machine on the cheap.
If the members of the General Assembly don’t want this “legislative debacle” hanging around their necks, they need to approve these 5 measures:
- Rollback SCE&G rates by either 13 or 18 percent temporarily.
- Set December 21, 2018, as the date certain that the Public Service Commission will rule on a permanent SCE&G rate cut pertaining to the increases previously approved for the nuclear construction.
- Give a legal definition to “prudent” and “imprudence” so that the Public Service Commission can cut SCE&G rates now and empower the Commission to say “no” in the future.
- Revise the mission of the Office of Regulatory Staff so that it is not concerned with the fiscal health of utilities.
- Create a Utility Consumer Advocate position in the Department of Consumer Affairs to solely represent the interests of residential ratepayers.
The legislature still has time to put up a complete victory for the public, but it will have to overcome the efforts of the wily (and still powerful) SCE&G.
The clock is ticking.