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Technology fouls up Dominion hearings

Home owners may pay $9.68 or more a month

By Rick Brundrett
Special to the Chronicle
Ratepayers have told SC regulators they oppose Dominion Energy’s proposed rate increase.
The request is billed as 7.7% but is actually 7.91%.
Despite fouled-up technology, it’s unknown if the 7 Public Service Commissioners will offer more public comment before it makes its decision by Feb. 15.
Only about 200 customers – far less than 1% of Dominion’s 753,000 customers in Lexington and 23 other SC counties – signed up for the 3 virtual hearings.
The PSC could have given the public a month longer to prepare for the hearings.
During the first virtual hearing, the PSC ran into technical problems that prevented some from calling in.
We asked the PSC how it planned to allow more public comment. By email, PSC spokesman Rob Bockman said it will be discussed.
The PSC gave Dominion up to Oct. 23 to notify its ratepayers of the hearings.
This gave ratepayers 16 days to sign up, read and prepare to comment on Dominion’s 274-page request.
Dominion’s $178 million rate hike will cost the average home owner $9.68 a month, or 7.91%, to $131.99, according to the Office of Regulatory Staff.
Dominion customers testified paying up to $600. They included retirees and others on fixed incomes who said they can’t afford this.
Commission chairman Justin Williams, vice chairwoman Florence Belser and commissioners Stephen Caston, Carolee Williams, Thomas Ervin, Headen Thomas and Delton Powers are elected by SC lawmakers and paid $132,071 a year.
Ratepayers who testified had only 3 minutes and had to be sworn in.
Dominion attorneys were allowed to speak although they weren’t under oath. 

Brundrett is the news editor of The Nerve (www.thenerve.org). Contact him at rick@thenerve.org 

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