A South Carolina Senate panel did not give its approval to legislation that would have put state-owned utility Santee Cooper under the regulation of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Since it is public, Santee Cooper is not regulated by the PSC as other electric utilities are. Instead, it is overseen by a board of directors whose 12 members are appointed by the governor, then vetted and approved by the Senate.
State Sen. Mike Fanning, D-Fairfield, said the utility can raise its rates without state oversight. “The Santee Cooper rates, while we thought they were low… if you compare to rates around the country, Santee Cooper rates were not low.”
Sen. Brad Hutto, R-Orangeburg, said the operations of Santee Cooper need to be clear, but the legislature could be doing the wrong thing by putting it under PSC control. “I do think it needs to be transparent, I think it needs to be subject to public input and everybody needs the ability to comment on it. I don’t know that it needs to go directly under PSC and I’m not sure that’s not a slippery slope in some regards.”
The VC Summer Nuclear Project Review Committee was set up in the wake of the failed expansion at the nuclear power plant in Fairfield County.
Santee Cooper and SCANA, parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas, halted construction on the two reactors in July after determining they could not finish the over-budget, behind-schedule project.