LATEST RATE HIKE PUTS UTILITY ON THE WRONG SIDE OF SOLAR DEBATE …
|| By FITSNEWS || Our energy policy is simple: Whatever keeps the lights on at the lowest cost to consumers, that’s what we support.
Oh, and whatever keeps the corporate cronyism out of the process …
We don’t believe government should subsidize the energy industry … and we certainly don’t believe it should run an energy company.
But in South Carolina, it does. Santee Cooper – a state-owned utility that should have been sold years ago – continues pursuing top-down, anti-competitive command economic policies in providing power to its consumers.
Its other job? Providing costly subsidies for “economic development” purposes.
In fact that’s why state lawmakers haven’t sold the multi-billion dollar entity: They want to continue picking winners and losers in the marketplace with the power it generates.
Who pays for that? Santee Cooper’s ratepayers – who are about to get hit with another hike at a time they can least afford it.
Making matters worse? Santee Cooper’s proposed rate hike contains a discriminatory charge on customers who choose to install solar systems. In fact it’s one of the most anti-solar proposals in the country.
Basically, the utility wants to make solar a cost-prohibitive investment for its consumers – which stands in stark contrast to recently approved state legislation intended to “promote the establishment of a reliable, efficient, and diversified portfolio of distributed energy resources.”
“Governor Nikki Haley signed landmark legislation to bring more energy choices to the state, but Santee Cooper is trying to protect its monopoly and run competition out of town,” said Gracie Walovich, spokesperson for the California-based Alliance for Solar Choice. “The utility is proposing a rate hike for all customers, and is specifically targeting solar homeowners with extreme charges that will thwart the burgeoning new solar market.”
Santee Cooper’s anti-solar policy stands in stark contrast to market-friendly policies recently adopted by Duke Energy and SCE&G. Both of these providers pay solar customers the dollar-for-dollar retail rate for the power they produce in their own homes using solar.
Once again, the private sector is getting it right while government is getting it wrong … shocker, right?
We’ll continue to follow this debate but Santee Cooper’s latest effort to manipulate the market in an economically and environmentally unfriendly manner strikes us as further evidence that the state should immediately divest itself of this asset.