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On Wednesday morning, the House and Senate conferees came to an agreement on major energy policy legislation. This update gets into the gritty details and uses original bill numbers as reference. Previous editions of The Advocates since January, particularly this “Just the Facts” issue from February, provide deeper background.
Part of the deal was reverting the Public Service Commission Ruling Delay (S.954) back to its original form where it delayed the Public Service Commission potential ruling in the SCANA/ Dominion merger and resolving the question of who will pay for the billions of dollars of unpaid construction costs at the VC Summer nuclear site until December of this year. The conferees stripped the rate reduction from that bill and put it in the Utility Plans, Projects and Rates bill (H.4375), where they agreed to a temporary rate reduction of 15% for SCANA customers. The Utility Plans, Projects and Rates bill (H.4375) also creates a state consumer advocate to fight for ratepayers against utilities, gives the Office of Regulatory Staff subpoena power and repeals the Base Load Review Act moving forward.
By Wednesday afternoon, the House and Senate both gave approval to the conference reports, sending both bills to the Governor’s desk. On Thursday, Governor McMaster quickly vetoed the Utility Plans, Projects and Rates bill (H.4375) wanting the full 18% rate reduction. Late Thursday afternoon, both the House and Senate voted to override the veto. This legislation will certainly be challenged in court.
As always the General Assembly is exciting to the very last day!