The Public Service Commission heard from some disgruntled SCE&G ratepayers in a Monday public meeting in Summerville. It’s one of two PSC hearings in the Lowcountry on this issue. SCE&G is planning a 9.52 percent rate hike, and after a year of phasing it would raise electric rates by $140 a year. However, that is too much still, according to citizens at the meeting who are on a fixed income or who already dislike the increases that have begun to take effect. Two of which are to pay for two new reactors at a plant near Columbia.
The testimony from these meetings will be combined as part of the public record, explains Jocelyn Boyd, spokesperson for the Public Service Commission.
“If a customer has a position or has a comment and wants that comment to be considered, along with all other evidence, and when I say evidence, I mean the company’s testimony and all the other record’s testimony,” says Boyd.
The utility reports that it has taken cost-saving measures to put off the increases, which they say now must happen to meet federal upgrades and overall maintenance and profits to investors. The role of the PSC says Boyd: “They sit and they listen to what everyone has to say and they give it the weight that they believe should be given, based on what they observe. They’re sitting there listen live, and they are able to listen and ask questions,” says Boyd.
There are two hearings in the Lowcountry, and another in Aiken, May 6 before the final hearing on May 24 in Columbia. Boyd says public record will include evidence from SCE&G and letters of record from the public, as well as what people tell them in person.
“The commission’s court reporter recorded all of the testimony and that will happen at each public hearing. That testimony will become part of the record, part of the evidence that the commission considers in making its final decision for the outcome of the SCE&G application,” says Boyd.
There is a meeting Tuesday night in Charleston. Monday’s meeting in Summerville included more than 175 ratepayers, many of whom spoke against the increase, saying the timing is poor in this economy.