H.5118 South Carolina 10-Year Energy Transformation legislation


South Carolina House of Representatives last week passed H.5118, the South Carolina Energy Security Act. The bill is supported by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and other business groups and opposed in part by a number of environmental and consumer organizations.

H.5118 would make a number of changes to South Carolina’s energy policy including, reducing the number of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Commissioners to three and changing their responsibilities of oversight and approval of renewable energy programs, of energy efficiency and demand-side resources, and would allow for a small modular nuclear reactor pilot program, among others.

The bill would require the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) to prepare a comprehensive assessment and ten-year plan and set specific requirements for this plan. ORS would engage directly with electrical utilities to assess the state’s electrical grid and transmission system needs, and with natural gas providers to assess the state’s needs of natural gas supply, and to determine the state’s ability to address the current and future energy needs in a cost-effective manner, while maintaining system reliability and economic growth.

The bill permits the South Carolina Public Service Authority (“PSA”) to jointly own electrical generation and transmission facilities with investor-owned electric utilities and provides requirements for that joint ownership. It encourages electrical utilities and PSA to consider deploying nuclear facilities. H.5118 specifies that the Department of Commerce must determine how the utility’s proposed rates would increase the probability of attracting transformational customers.

The bill will be thoroughly debated in the Senate.  

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