27 Nov State lawmaker predicts legislative ‘fight’ over retail electricity choice in S.C.
S.C. state senator calls for state to adopt retail electricity competition. South Carolina policy makers will have failed the state’s electricity consumers if privatizing the state-owned Santee Cooper utility is the only response they make to the multibillion-dollar boondoggle caused by the failed V.C. Summer nuclear power development, state Sen. Tom Davis writes in The Island Packet. “Simply swapping a public power provider that has a monopoly for a private one that has the same monopoly does not address the underlying problem,” Davis says. “We must also do the harder work of unleashing the free market in energy production — something the large utilities with their legislatively granted monopolies will pay their lobbyists obscene amounts of money to prevent.” Davis, citing the experience of states in the Northeast and Midwest, wants the state to open its retail power market to customer choice, and for Southwest states to establish a regional transmission operator to oversee a competitive wholesale power market in the region. A legislative “fight” over the issue is coming, Davis writes, calling for the public “to insist that their elected representatives empower consumers rather than a handful of politically connected utilities.”
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