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  • Sen. Mia McLeod

Why is Dominion Energy raising our rates?

Hard to believe we’re right back here again, but these utility rate hikes have become a recurring theme…even during a raging pandemic.

I’ve spoken out against Palmetto Utilities’ proposed rate increases all summer at the Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) virtual night hearings. Now, I’m speaking out again this week, because of Dominion Energy.

We’re in the middle of an epic public health crisis. The people of SC are still grappling with all of the catastrophic losses that come with 178,524 COVID-19 exposures (188,000+ if you count the probable cases), hundreds of thousands of unemployed South Carolinians and 3800+ deaths so far, statewide. 

Those who were already working multiple jobs, living paycheck to paycheck and pinching pennies to pay their rent, mortgage, tuition, childcare, grocery, medical and utility bills, are having an even tougher time. Many of our seniors and most vulnerable adults are on fixed incomes. The last thing they need is another utility rate increase.

South Carolina ratepayers have been forced to pay into failed utility systems for far too long. As lawmakers, we should focus on repairing the damage caused by decades of leadership and oversight failures.  

Trying to squeeze us for even more money under these unprecedented conditions seems tone-deaf, greedy and self-serving. In fact, Dominion could’ve voluntarily withdrawn its petition. Instead, it’s moving full-speed ahead.

We know that SC law favors public utilities and allows PSC-regulated utilities to basically “self-regulate” in vigorous pursuit of rate increases with little to no regard for ratepayers or the unprecedented times we’re in. That’s precisely why SC ratepayers deserve extraordinary consideration, transparency, accountability and answers.

Virtual Public Night Hearing – Public Testimony

TUNE-IN TONIGHT - Thursday, November 12, at 6:00 p.m.

Re:   Application of Dominion Energy SC, Inc. for Adjustment of Rates & Charges

While trying to acquire SCANA/SCE&G, Dominion Energy lied to all of us. Broken promises of $1000 rebates. Empty assurances of lower monthly bills. All fluff. All false. All to lure us into believing that they would be good corporate citizens and not take advantage of ratepayers.

Obviously, Dominion Energy is looking out for Dominion Energy, at a time when we can least afford to foot the bill for $178 million in revenue that this proposed increase will generate. As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across SC, increasing revenues on the backs of ratepayers who are already struggling will leave many South Carolinians with barely enough to cover food, shelter, medicines and other basic living expenses.

As a state Senator, I can’t single-handedly stop Dominion Energy or any other utility from being awarded the rate increases they seek. I’m not even sure SC law allows the PSC to do anything other than “rubber stamp” the Rate Adjustment Applications of billion dollar monopolies like Dominion. What I can do is propose legislation that’ll provide more protections for ratepayers. 

So, while SC public utility laws don’t protect you, it’s time SC lawmakers do...

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