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Government-Run Power Company Has A Rate Hiking Trump Card




We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again … government shouldn’t be in the electricity business.

It’s simply not something taxpayers should subsidize … ever.

Unfortunately, in “Republican-controlled” South Carolina everything has become a “core function” of government … which is why billion dollar budget increases continue to produce pathetic results.

Anyway, state-owned public utility Santee Cooper – an entity this website has repeatedly called on state leaders to privatize – recently announced another rate hike on its customers beginning on April 1, 2016.  Another rate hike would be imposed on April 1, 2017.

Santee Cooper refused to say how high the rate hikes would be … although the agency’s press release predicted a pair of annual 3.7 percent increases.  But hey … it’s all good because the politicos running the bureaucracy feel the people’s pain.

“I know times continue to be challenging for many of our customers,” said Santee Cooper board chairman Leighton Lord, an appointee of governor Nikki Haley.

Ya think?

Here’s an interesting tidbit, though … while private sector energy providers are required by law to come before government regulatory agencies whenever they want to raise rates (and receive government approval), Santee Cooper isn’t similarly burdened.

Seriously: The agency can raise rates on whomever it wishes … whenever it wishes … by any amount it wishes.  In fact it’s did so in 2011, 2012 and 2013 … even as income levels in the Palmetto State were stagnant.

And it’s getting ready to do so again …

It’s been suggested Santee Cooper should be sold because the proceeds would accrue to the benefit of the state’s general fund – giving lawmakers more money to spend.  Our view?  The utility should be sold because it has no right to exist as a government entity in the first place.

Obviously government should hire cops.  And it should run courts.  And it should build roads and bridges as population needs dictate.  These are “core functions” of government – and they should be performed with maximum efficiency and transparency.

What isn’t a core function?  Running a power company that plays by a different set of rules as the private sector …