These rate increases – which would increase customers’ monthly bills by at least nine percent – have sparked concern among lawmakers in South Carolina, who are now openly wondering whether the company will honor its pledge regarding rate increases in the Palmetto State.
Of course, confusion abounds as to the precise nature of that pledge … and specifically, when it expires.
When it made its offer to purchase crony capitalist utility SCANA last year, Dominion vowed not to raise rates on utility customers for at least three years. But when did the clock start on that promise? Was it the moment the deal was first offered back in January 2018? Or was it the moment the deal was concluded in January 2019?
According to lawmakers we spoke with, Dominion’s lead South Carolina lobbyist – Jonathan Yarborough – has provided “conflicting” and “confusing” responses when pressed on this critical question.
“We need a straight answer,” one lawmaker who attended a recent gathering of legislators in Nashville, Tennessee told this news outlet. “Right now we aren’t getting one.”
(Click to view)
(Via: Dominion Energy)
If Dominion adopts the position that its three-year pledge commenced in January 2018, the company would need to apply for rate hikes next spring – in the middle of partisan primary elections (and in the middle of a contentious battle over the disposition of state-run utility, Santee Cooper).
Needless to say, that would be terrible timing for the company …
However, one lawmaker told us Yarborough insisted rate hikes would not be sought next year – citing the absolutely brutal experience North Carolina-based Duke Energy endured in its recent bid to raise rates as well as the public’s “expectation” that the clock on Dominion’s rate hike promise began on January 1, 2019 when it officially acquired SCANA.
No matter when Dominion makes its case for a rate hike, regulators with the S.C. Public Service Commission (SCPSC) will be under tremendous pressure to safeguard the interests of consumers in the aftermath of #NukeGate, the Palmetto State’s spectacularly failed government experiment in the nuclear power business.
As Duke learned the hard way, the days of utilities dictating terms to state regulators are over …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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(Via: Dominion Energy)