From Bea Wray

A lot is happening now, as the clock winds down the year and some major decisions loom regarding the fate of our South Carolina utilities. By December 21, the PSC is set to render its decision on the rates for SCANA, a decision which will have an impact on the proposed Dominion-SCANA merger. PSC will hold its meetings on this subject starting November 1. and Dominion has been conducting several Meet-and-Greets throughout the state as a way to build relationships and goodwill to help influence the decision.

I attended the final Meet-and-Greet Monday night in North Charleston to try to deepen my understanding and get to the bottom of what is at stake for many South Carolina energy consumers. The hook for consumers’ interest seems to be that Dominion will decrease the rate by 7 percent and not increase rates for three years, according to a representative I spoke to that evening. I wondered if the representatives I met didn’t know that the 7 percent decrease is off the 18 percent  hikes in rates that have occurred over the past several years.

Rebates are another topic of interest to consumers. In one proposal, Dominion is offering $1,000 per customers BUT it is proportional to your utility bill, some people will get $4,000 and some will get much less. In Dominion’s most recent proposal however, the company does away with the rebate altogether and offers a deeper monthly rate cut from the original $10 per month proposed to $20 per month. I did not get an answer to my most pressing question, “Why do you suppose someone would not support the merger?” Hearing, “I cannot think of a reason” did not instill confidence for me. There is so much information regarding rate cuts and increases that it is hard to know which end is up.

I believe information is power, so I am trying to gain and share information around these issues. I hope these individuals tune in to the PSC hearings, which will begin live streaming on Thursday and go on for many days. I am hopeful we begin to uncover the facts.

And now I just read there is another offer from Dominion that is directed to Santee Cooper. I think there are too many proposals and not enough information…to be continued.