Lexington County Chronicle
September 16, 2015

By Jerry Bellune

Two rate payers have appealed to state lawmakers for help with utility rates.

They say S.C. Electric & Gas has raised rates 31% in the last six years and wants to raise them higher.

And they are critical of the state Public Service Commission which does nothing to ease this burden for SCE&G customers.

Small Business Chamber of Commerce President Frank Knapp asked Lexington County lawmakers last week to change state law to prevent customer abuse.

Sandra Wright of Irmo said Public service Commission regulators do not represent the public.

“Their name is just a ruse to placate the public or to make the public feel there is someone on their side,” she told lawmakers.

Knapp called on local lawmakers for financial relief for SCE&G customers because the new nuclear plants SCE&G is building will benefit all of the state.

They will cover 80% of the reduced carbon emissions set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“The cost of achieving this goal should be a statewide responsibility—not paid for solely by my 91-year-old mother, the people in this room, the small business SCE&G customers and all the rest of the company’s ratepayers.”

SCE&G is already hundreds of millions of dollars over budget and three years behind schedule while rate increases continue and the cost of the plants keeps rising, he said.

He asked lawmakers for an independent assessment of state utility law to find:

-How much of a projected $4 billion in rate payer savings over the 40-year life of the nuclear plants has been eroded due to construction delays.

-If SCE&G should have to complete construction at its own expense before asking for a rate increase.

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