Rate payer wars rock South Carolina Public Service Commission

December 5, 2008 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

this press event with Southern Energy Network, Friends of the Earth and SC Sierra Club was covered by two tv stations and two newspapers

This Monday marked the beginning of what is planned to be a week long hearing before the South Carolina Public Service Commission in which South Carolina Electric & Gas is requesting a 37% rate increase (to be implemented over ten years), to pay for the construction of two new nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville, SC.  The 37% figure is somewhat dubious, as it is based on shockingly low cost estimates for the reactor project (half of what other utilities and the Department of Energy are forecasting as the cost for the very same reactor design).

Of course, SCE&G’s application for the permits to build the two new reactors are woefully inadequate in researching the potential for energy efficiency programs or renewable energy.  Instead of investing our money in a clean, safe, healthy energy future, SCE&G is trying to make ratepayers subsidize their dirty energy facilities.

During the two public comment periods, in which anyone could sign up to testify before the Public Service Commission, the opposition far outnumbered the support for this rate increase.  Young people and concerned citizens came out in droves to speak out in defense of rate payers, our planet and our people.  The final public comment period on Wednesday had to be extended by more than two hours to accomodate all that wanted to speak.  In addition to all the public comment made, dozens of written comments were submitted by concerned citizens all across the state.

Now we will have to wait for the PSC to deliberate before we know if SCE&G will be granted their requested rate increase.  Once this decision is made, it is final and will allow SCE&G a blank check and the option of increasing the rates even further to pay for their construction.  Even if the two new reactors are never built or never come online, the ratepayers have no way of recovering their money, thanks to legislation passed in South Carolina last year.

Regardless of the decision, though, South Carolina will not go down without a fight; we will continue to organize in opposition of this nuclear project even if we can’t protect our pocketbooks from a “Public Service” Commission with a questionable track record.

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Entry filed under: corruption, nuclear, southcarolina, southern energy network. Tags: , , .

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