What an opportunity! Members of the South Carolina Legislature meet the week of June 25 to discuss, and possibly start to resolve, the issues around SCE&G/Santee Cooper and the Summer nuclear units.

This is a true dollars-and-cents-and-sense opportunity. A lot of back-and-forth about who gets blame and how to address the rate issues has been in the headlines. Energy Consumers of the Carolinas weighs in on another facet of the upcoming debate: What message gets sent about our region to others during the debate? The discussion about these issues can influence how others perceive the way the Carolinas work in general. That perception is under the control of the people in the debate.

Rates and responsibility are critically important. Always have been. They deserve thoughtful discussion that shows a deliberative and respectful government, business and consumer relationship. The content, manner and tone of the discussions next week sends a signal to others, such as companies considering moving here or even staying here. They speak to small business owners with decisions to make about expansion. These debates will speak to families who want to live in a place that faces its tough issues and constructively manages them.

The debates will ideally not be a competition for headlines. Better that the discussion exemplifies collaboration about the best ways to advance an evolving energy portfolio, continued reliable service, smart financial direction, and will say to everyone looking in, “Join us, we work well together.”

This is about energy – our electricity future and how leaders tap their individual energy in this discussion. Let’s make sure everyone uses their energy well and view our energy future well. It’s a good opportunity.