Two former South Carolina state lawmakers are among the announced candidates for four contested seats on the embattled S.C. Public Service Commission (SCPSC), the entity that establishes utility rates and approves mergers within the industry in the Palmetto State.
Former state representative Chip Limehouse – who was recently appointed to the S.C. State Infrastructure Bank (SCTIB) – now wants a seat on the SCPSC. Limehouse is one of seven challengers who filed to run against incumbent Butch Howard of Moncks Corner, S.C.
Howard has represented the Palmetto State’s first congressional district on this panel since 2004.
In another contested SCPSC race, former state representative Ted Vick of Pawleys Island, S.C. is one of five candidates seeking the seventh congressional district seat. That post is being vacated by commissioner G. O’Neal Hamilton, who has also held his seat since 2004.
Also running in the seventh district? Bonnie Loomis of Murrells Inlet, S.C., who leads an advocacy group that receives financial support from several of the utilities that regularly come before the SCPSC seeking rate increases.
Limehouse and Vick, incidentally, both tried and failed to run for congress in their respective districts (Vick in 2012 and Limehouse in a special election in 2013).
Will they fare better in their SCPSC bids?
We hope not …
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(Via: Travis Bell Photography)
Aside from our belief that neither of these ex-lawmakers would make good choices to serve on this panel, we object to former lawmakers receiving appointments like this on principle.
Two other incumbent commissioners – Swain Whitfield of Winnsboro, S.C. and chairman Comer Randall of Clinton, S.C. – also drew multiple challengers in their bids for reelection. Whitfield has three candidates running against him for the fifth congressional district seat on this panel, while Randall has three candidates seeking his third district seat.
Whitfield has been on the SCPSC since 2008, while Randall has been on the panel since 2013.
Here is the full list of candidates …
(Click to view)
As is the case with South Carolina’s judges, the power to appoint SCPSC commissioners rests exclusively with the S.C. General Assembly. First, a legislatively controlled committee – the S.C. Public Utilities Review Committee (SCPURC) will screen the candidates and determine which ones will be allowed to stand for election. Then, a final vote on the “approved” slate will take place before a joint session of the legislature next spring.
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