STATE: Speaker Lucas Creates the House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee
Viable plan must be determined before taking action on VC Summer situation, Speaker says
Columbia – House Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) today announced the formation of the House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee in response to the abandonment of the VC Summer nuclear facility in Jenkinsville (Fairfield County), SC.
“Based upon the multi-billion dollar disaster at VC Summer and the nearly 6,000 workers who have lost their jobs, it is obvious that our current standard for energy development in South Carolina is flawed and in need of reform. Acting impulsively could potentially create greater turmoil for thousands of ratepayers who have spent their hard-earned paychecks on a service they will never receive.
“The only responsible path forward is to comprehensively study the issue and quickly determine a viable plan that best serves the interests of South Carolina ratepayers. Every possible option must be considered and remains on the table. I have encouraged the committee to review and potentially repeal the Base Load Review Act and examine the Public Service Commission’s authority. The State has a responsibility to fully investigate this situation and ensure ratepayers do not experience this kind of failure again,” House Speaker Jay Lucas stated.
Since last week’s announcement, Speaker Lucas has been actively monitoring the situation and engaging with House membership to select the most qualified representatives to serve on this committee.
The House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee will be chaired by Representative Peter McCoy (District 115-Charleston) and includes 18 House members who represent constituencies covered by SCE&G and Santee Cooper. These members include: Carl Anderson (District 103-Georgetown), Nathan Ballentine (District 71-Richland), Bart Blackwell (District 81-Aiken), Micah Caskey (District 89-Lexington), Heather Crawford (District 68-Horry), Bill Crosby (District 117-Charleston), Sylleste Davis (District 100-Berkeley), Kirkman Finlay (District 75-Richland), Mike Forrester (District 34-Spartanburg), Wendell Gillard (District 111-Charleston), Kevin Hardee (District 105-Horry), Pat Henegan (District 54-Marlboro), Bill Hixon (District 83-Aiken), David Mack (District 109-Charleston), Russell Ott (District 93-Calhoun), Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope (District 47-York), Todd Rutherford (District 74-Richland), James Smith (District 72-Richland).
Chairman Bill Sandifer (District 2-Oconee) of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee is also included to help streamline the committee’s efforts.
“Each member selected to serve on this committee has been affected by the VC Summer suspension and is committed to finding solutions that better protect South Carolina ratepayers. I am confident Representative Peter McCoy has the appropriate experience and temperament to lead the group as it works to create a viable solution that holds utilities accountable and prevents future mismanagement of hardworking ratepayers’ contributions,” Speaker Lucas concluded.
The House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee will begin meeting over the next few weeks. Upon conclusion of its study and if a viable solution requires General Assembly action, Speaker Lucas will call the House back into session before it is set to reconvene in January.