COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina regulators have dropped plans for a solar energy forum next month after getting complaints from a group of utilities that provide electricity to mostly rural areas.

The Public Service Commission dropped plans for a Sept. 12 public workshop after the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina complained, The State newspaper reported.

The cooperatives said it's too soon to have a workshop on solar energy since a legislative committee is already studying the idea and should have a report by the end of the year.

John Frick, the cooperatives' vice president for government relations, said issues to be discussed at the September forum focused on just part of the picture, but the legislative committee is taking a more comprehensive approach.

“The work is already being done,” Frick said. “There is an opportunity for input and discussion that already exists.”

But supporters of the forum disagree.

“I know of no good reason that open public discussion of the costs and benefits of solar energy should not occur,” said John Clark, former director of the state energy office.

Utility companies say adding solar power is not as technologically simple as supporters say.


Information from: The State,