Several members of the South Carolina House of Representatives want to make sure members of the state Public Service Commission are not influenced in their decisions by lobbyists or utilities.
“It offends me to no end when I read about the trips. The money. The meals that are paid for by utilities to, in essence, judges, these commissioners,” State Rep. Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, said. “That’s wrong because those are the people that appear in front of them and ask for these rate increases and are granted these rate increases.”
McCoy joined fellow State Reps. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, and Gary Clary, R-Clemson to propose a bill which would define ethics laws on PSC commissioners. Among other changes, it would expand lobbying disclosure laws to include contacts with the commissioners in the same way they do for politicians. It would also ban regulated utilities from donating to politicians’ campaigns.
“I think we need major PSC ethics reform,” he said. “I believe it has to be a priority for this session… The rest of you all know the Public Service Commission plays a massive role — massive role — when it comes to utilities and when it comes to rate increases and when it comes to decisions involving utilities.” [Read more…]