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Palmetto State Lawmakers Demand Dominion Rebates … After Killing Them

South Carolina Democrats are a bit confused …

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Democrats in the South Carolina House of Representatives are urging Virginia-based Dominion Energy to provide cash rebates to Palmetto State energy consumers – even though they and their GOP colleagues killed these rebates during the previous legislative session.  And even though state regulators followed the legislature’s lead in approving a plan that provided more relief over a longer period of time to consumers impacted by the 2017 #NukeGate fiasco.

You know … in lieu of the rebates.

We wonder … are these lawmakers confused?  Or are they being deliberately disingenuous?

Your guess is as good as ours …

Even mainstream media reporters seemed baffled by the proposal …

“I thought we’d been over this,” reporter Andrew Brown of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier tweeted, noting that the proposed Dominion rebates were contingent on lawmakers and regulators accepting the company’s original proposal.

Indeed …

Perhaps such confusion on the part of legislators is to be expected considering they are ultimately responsible for the spectacular collapse of the command economic boondoggle that led to Dominion coming to the Palmetto State.

Last month, regulators approved Dominion’s roughly $15 billion purchase of crony capitalist South Carolina utility SCANA – which along with government-run Santee Cooper partnered on the botched construction of a pair of next-generation nuclear reactors in Fairfield County, S.C. from 2008-2017.

(Click to view)

(Via: High Flyer)

The reactors (above) were supposed to have been operational in 2016 and 2017, respectively, at a cost of $9.8 billion … but they weren’t completed.  And as the project imploded, it soon became clear executives at both utilities knew the projects were doomed – yet continued to request (and receive) rate increases from regulators regardless.  In fact, Santee Cooper proposed a rate increase related to the project just eight days before pulling the plug on it … forcing SCANA to abandon its plans to try and complete at least one of the two unfinished reactors.

Enter Dominion … which initially sought to provide cash rebates in the amount of $1.3 billion (later $1.6 billion) to SCANA customers as part of its bid to acquire the company.  Lawmakers – led by S.C. Senate majority leader Shane Massey – balked at that proposal, though, and passed their own “solution.”

Dominion continued to press for the rebates, but state regulators – at the urging of powerful S.C. speaker of the House Jay Lucas – chose a merger plan that did not include them.

Now lawmakers want to have their cake and eat it too, apparently …

“I believe it is only right that Dominion honor a pledge they spent nearly a million dollars to sell to our people,” state representative Wendell Gilliard said in a statement.  “By not honoring their pledge and taking back their word, this sets up a lack of trust between the people of South Carolina and this Virginia-based company from the start.”

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(DOMINION ENERGY)

Gilliard went on to say “the people of South Carolina are folks to whom words and commitments matter,” and that Dominion should “show more honor and start this new relationship on the right track.”

“They spent millions to tell us we would get an average of $1,000 back, and they haven’t spent a single dollar explaining why we didn’t receive our money, but the merger went through,” Gilliard concluded.  “This looks rotten to the citizens of our state.”

Actually, what looks rotten to us is a decade of legislative meddling in the energy marketplace … including meddling in the private sector efforts to resolve the #NukeGate debacle that killed the rebates.

Gilliard is certainly well within his rights to request additional ratepayer relief from Dominion, but it takes a special kind of ignorance for lawmakers to turn around and demand the very rebates they scuttled last spring.

Sure, it would be nice to have the extra money … but if lawmakers wanted ratepayers to have cash rebates then they shouldn’t have torpedoed them.

Even better?  Lawmakers should have taken our suggestion and just eliminated the crony capitalist energy tax that led to these higher energy bills in the first place.

Best of all?  Lawmakers should have never plunged our state into such a command economic albatross in the first place …

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