This blog post, by Frank Knapp, Jr., President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, was written Tuesday, July 2, and was originally published on the SCSBC’s blog here.
Today [July 2] the SC Public Service Commission unanimously and without debate voted to comply with the directive of the SC Legislature. The PSC approved a 15% electric rate decrease for SCE&G customers retroactive to April 1st of this year.
Before you get too excited, this past Friday SCE&G filed suit in a federal District Court to block the rate rollback saying that the legislation passed is unconstitutional.
In court is exactly where we expected to be all along and why I’ve been advocating that we could and should have gotten to this point sooner.
In addition to the legalese of SCE&G’s federal lawsuit is this analysis:
Bowing to extreme political pressure, the South Carolina General Assembly now wishes that it had not enacted the BLRA (Base Load Review Act) and, through two new laws (Act 287 and Resolution 285), seeks to punish SCE&G by retroactively eliminating all rate increases since 2010 authorized under the BLRA.
For 95 years SCE&G has basically owned the SC General Assembly lock, stock, and barrel by virtue of its lobbying, campaign contributions, public donations and all its economic clout. It was a political machine that no legislator dared defy.
SCE&G was the epitome of “extreme political pressure”.
Now the utility wants to complain to the federal court that it is being harmed by “extreme political pressure”?
SCE&G certainly has the right to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation passed just last week.
And the public, through lawsuits, has the right to challenge the constitutionality of the 2007 Base Load Review Act which created the mess we’re in.
But for SCE&G to whine to a federal court that is has been the victim of “extreme political pressure” is pathetically hypocritical and shows just how far the utility has fallen from the mountain top of power.