Published in The Lexington Chronicle and The-Dispatch News
S.C. Electric & Gas’s top executive admits the company has no idea what a 14% rate increase will do to small business.
During state Public Service Commission hearings into SCE&G’s requested rate increase, Commissioner Robert Moseley asked the power company’s estimate of the impact of the hike.
SCE&G President and CEO Neville Lorick said his company had no committee assessing the effect of the rate increase on small business.
The S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce has intervened in the PSC hearings to oppose the rate increase in general and specifically the 14% rate hike for small businesses, the highest increase requested.
Residential customers’ rates would increase 7% and large commercial users 5%.
During questioning by Small Business Chamber attorney Joseph M. Epting, the SCE&G chief executive said:
• The company is active in big business economic development but he is unaware of any economic development efforts for small businesses.
• SCE&G tries to control costs to reduce the need for rate increases but have not had to cut any managers’ pay.
• SCE&G’s generating plant under construction in Jasper County accounts for over a third of the revenue being sought in the rate increase. Lorrick said his executives knew they would need a rate increase when they decided to build the plant.
Later testimony by Kevin Marsh, the company’s chief financial officer, contradicted his boss’s statement, sasying only the sale of first mortgage bonds and the sale of common stock were considered to finance the plant.