Updated 5:04 p.m.
Repealing the law that led to V.C. Summer and its abandonment
The 2007 law used to justify charging ratepayers more than $2 billion for two now-abandoned nuclear reactors in Fairfield County is one step closer to repeal.
On Thursday, with roughly three hours left in the two-year legislative session, the S.C. Senate voted to repeal the law and clearly define the terms, prudent and imprudent.
The House responded by tacking onto the bill an amendment to strip all 18 percent of one utility’s rate hikes under the decade-old law, eventually forcing it to a conference committee. A similar rate cut proposal is gridlocked in conference committee, where senators are insisting on a 13 percent rate cut.
Previously, the BLRA lacked a clear definition for those terms.
The repeal, however, would apply only to future petitions before the PSC.
A consumer advocate with a single mission
A second Senate-passed bill would create a consumer advocate to act solely on behalf of ratepayers.
Lawmakers responding to the $9 billion nuclear debacle have said the Office of Regulatory Staff, which is currently tasked with protecting ratepayers, has a conflicted mission.
The agency is also concerned with the welfare of the utilities and with economic development. The bill would streamline the agency’s mission by abolishing those two tasks.
Additionally, the bill would give ORS subpoena power to demand utilities release documents needed to defend ratepayers.
The two-year legislative session ends at 5 p.m. on Thursday. But legislators may reconvene in May and June to take up the budget and V.C. Summer related reforms.