Is this what good intentions produced?
Opinion from the Lexington County Chronicle
Years ago, we developed a utility system right for its time. With the cost of power lines and generators to deliver electricity, regulated monopolies attracted needed capital.
When investor-owned utilities wouldn’t serve rural South Carolina, a taxpayer-owned utility, Santee Cooper, made sense.
But times, conditions and opportunities change. Today Santee Cooper’s rogue board and management need to go and the state to sell it to an investor-owned utility to get its $8 billion debt off the backs of the taxpayers and ratepayers.
SC Small Business Chamber CEO Frank Knapp explains why as you can read on this page.
Times have changed for monopoly utilities, too. They have grown into monsters run by greedy accountants, lawyers and lobbyists while the people who keep our lights on get the shaft.
Our Public Disservice Commission traded the rascals at SCANA for Dominion Energy and made it cut rates 15%.
Now Dominion wants a 7.75% rate hike which it describes as less than 1% a year for its ratepayers since rates were last raised in 2012.
They do not mention the $2 billion in nuclear fiasco rate hikes ratepayers were charged.
The utility’s Public Affairs Manager Rhonda O’Banion said this will “ensure continued safe, reliable and efficient service.”
She was responding to criticism by energy expert Rod Funderburk who called the proposed rate hike “ridiculous.”
Dominion wants $3.5 million more a year for the next 5 years.
“That will be on top of $24 million a year,” he said.
“Even without viewing the company’s history of rate increases, this seems excessive.”
Funderburk, a consultant to large energy users, said, “To justify the increase, the company is throwing huge numbers at the commission” including “an extra $9.8 million annually over the next 5 years to cover storms that have yet to strike the state.”
What’s your opinion of what Dominion is asking? Is it as excessive as it appears?
Write us with your view at JerryBellune@yahoo.com