Ratepayers and SCE&G customers who want to comment about the utility rates they paid for a nuclear project that will never generate power for them have an opportunity to do so before the South Carolina Public Service Commission later this year.
The commission has scheduled three public hearings throughout the state to hear testimony from customers before it considers the full case docket in November.
“This is an opportunity for the commission to hear from the customers–the ratepayers,” South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff executive director Nanette Edwards said.
PSC commissioners will have to decide whether Virginia-based Dominion Energy can acquire SCE&G’s parent company SCANA and how much the company can charge ratepayers for the ill-fated V.C. Summer nuclear expansion, if at all.
Edwards said the PSC recognizes that it is not convenient for some ratepayers to go to its main Columbia office for its regular meetings. The PSC also decided to gather testimony from ratepayers and customers separately because of the length of time the testimony could take.
“It’s really important that SCE&G customers who have an interest in the V.C. Summer nuclear abandonment to attend one of the three night meetings,” Edwards said.
Edwards said testimony provided at the public hearings will be part of the official record of the case.
“This is sworn testimony,” she said. “So as an SCE&G ratepayer that chooses to participate, they are sworn in. There’s a court reporter. There’s a hearing transcript and it is evidence in the case.”
The ORS , Friends and the Earth and Sierra Club are asking the PSC to authorize SCE&G and SCANA to lower customer rates that had been raised significantly over nearly a decade to finance construction on the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County. Last July, SCE&G and partner Santee Cooper both abandoned completing the project. State legislators have temporarily prevented SCE&G from charging customers to repay V.C. Summer debt. However, the PSC will make the final decision. SCE&G is suing to stop the legislative requirement, but a judge is allowing the lower rates for now.
Edwards said ratepayers should be interested in the PSC docket on the case because “it directly affects their bills.”
“It’s only through that participation that the commission can gather the evidence and render a decision based on that input from the SEC&G ratepayers. It’s really the ratepayers’ opportunity to inform the commission of their opinions,” Edwards said.
The hearing involving SCE&G, SCANA, Dominion Energy, ORS, Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club has been scheduled for November 1.
“There’s a large number of intervenors,” Edwards said. “I anticipate there’s going to be a large number of witnesses…I anticipate the hearing will last several weeks.”
“It’s got a lot of eyes on it to see how this cames comes out so these night hearings really allow as many people as possible that are affected to come and become a part of the process and participate,” said Ron Aiken, ORS spokesperson.
The Public Service Commission will listen to testimony but they are not able to answer questions or discuss individual cases.
- Monday, September 24, Public Service Commission Hearing Room, Synergy Business Park, Saluda Building, 101 Executive Center Drive, Columbia, SC 29210.
- Monday, October 8, Aiken County Government Center, 1930 University Parkway, Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, Aiken, SC 29801.
- Monday, October 15, Lonnie Hamilton III Public Services Building, 4045 Bridgeview Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405.
- All meetings start at 6 p.m.
- People wishing to testify will have to sign in and will be allowed a maximum of three minutes.