At the risk of offending possibly thin-skinned people associated with the South Carolina Public Service Commission, this ratepayer will offer a few comments on its Dec. 14 decision — from under the bus which all ratepayers were thrown. To begin: Boo.
The commissioners claim that they were obliged to follow the law when making their decision.
Given that there are ongoing state and federal law enforcement agencies investigating the doings of SCANA/SCE&G that could impact the application of the cited law, was it not appropriate to stay any decisions pending the outcome of those investigations and subsequent court cases? Would a few months’ delay have saved ratepayers from 20 years of higher rates?
If the PSC-approved settlement survives court challenges, more than a million ratepayers will be victimized by that settlement. Included are the present 720,000 or so SCE&G customers together with those who were customers during the nuclear debacle period but have moved on and those who will be customers in the coming two decades.
The Base Load Review Act did not anticipate saddling ratepayers with waste, deception and abuse associated expenses, and it has always been the responsibility of the PSC to look out for the interest of ratepayers.
Were commissioners sufficiently vigilant during the debacle period? Have they acted in the best interest of ratepayers of late? What is the honorable thing for current commissioners to do?
While I am unhappy with the way this thing is playing out, I am not upset with Dominion. I grudgingly admire its virtuoso performance that has apparently resulted in an outstanding deal for its stockholders.
Dominion initially baited us with the suggestion of nice checks for ratepayers and then finessed a deal by which those checks need not be written while it is guaranteed to collect above-average regional utility rates for the next 20 years. What’s not to like if you are a Dominion stockholder?
Prediction: Dominion will stand by for a few years while the dust settles before coming before the PSC with a rate increase request. The basis of the request will be that unanticipated changes in the market justify approval of its request.
Will the apparent rubber stamp once employed on behalf of SCE&G be employed on behalf of Dominion?
Walter D. Carr