South Carolina Electric & Gas rates are already among the highest in the Southeast due to costs from unfinished nuclear construction at the VC Summer plant in Fairfield County. PPI noted in its report that Santee Cooper, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas also want rate hikes. PPI said the state spends more per-capita on energy than almost any other state ($400 more annually than the national average).
South Carolina is an electric monopoly provider state. In other words, only one utility provides power for each region of the state.
Senior PPI research fellow Oran Smith said the report explored ways for customers to have more choices. “We look at a method that was known as ‘willing,'” he said. “And willing is where you separate the generation of electricity form the transmission and distribution of electricity. And they become really two separate companies.”
The Institute supports allowing energy providers to service whomever they would like to in the state in a “willing buyer, willing seller” model. States are often
“The burden of the cost of generation doesn’t come to the customer. What is know as a wires only organization would sell you your power that they would get from various competing sources of generation,” said Smith.
PPI said that the states with competitive energy markets have seen prices fall by 17.93 percent over the last decade. Meanwhile, monopoly states like South Carolina have seen energy prices rise by 2.55 percent on average. South Carolina rates in all three rate classes, industrial, commercial and residential, are higher than both North Carolina and Georgia, the Palmetto State’s primary competitors in economic development.