Utility Ratepayer Protection Bills Move Forward to House Judiciary Committee

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- Six pre-filed bills designed to make sure project shutdowns never have the same impact as the V.C. Summer failure received favorable report in the House Utility Ratepayer subcommittee, clearing the way for it to be reviewed by other representatives.

“If you look at the bills we’re all paying right now, you and I and everybody here, we’re still paying the 18 percent attached to our bills going towards a project that’s not going to be completed. So the Speaker wanted to move fast, act quickly, and let the ratepayers and the state of South Carolina know that the House of Representatives is taking this issue seriously,” said committee chair Peter McCoy Jr.

Three of the other bills focus on reforming the agencies that oversee utility rates; specifically the public service commission, Office of Regulatory Staff and one calls for replacing the Public Utilities Review Committee with a board made up of six lawmakers and four governor appointees.

Another bill details reforming Santee Cooper, requiring all sitting board members to end their terms and prohibiting costs of abandonment from being added to rates. Santee Cooper’s interim CEO argues this bill could affect their credit which would ultimately raise customer rates down the road.

The last bill calls on the Public Service Commission to require refunds to ratepayers from SCANA. All six bills are moving forward to full judiciary committee for more discussion and amendments.