Friday, November 10, 2017

After nuclear plant failure, bills pre-filed to stem utility influence and stop SCE&G payments

Stavrinakis and McCoy file bills

Posted by Adam Manno on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 1:17 PM

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State lawmakers are gearing up for an intense 2018 legislative session following the downfall of plans to build two new reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear station.

Multiple bills were pre-filed and routed to the Judiciary Committee on Thursday as part of lawmakers' plans to tighten restrictions on the state's public utility companies, according to state records.

Santee Cooper and SCE&G halted work on the planned reactors on July 31 after $9 billion were already spent on trying to make the projects work, according to The Post & Courier.

The Statehouse Report took a look at the "Utility Ratepayer Protection Package" yesterday, a series of six bills that would, among other things, create a utility oversight committee and stop the 18 percent rate payment that SCE&G is currently charging its customers in order to pay for the abandoned reactor plans.

Other pre-filed bills include H. 4381, which would establish the Legislative Ethics Committee of both chambers as the authority and record-keeper for all special interest caucuses, and H. 4417, sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis of West Ashley and Republican Rep. Peter McCoy of James Island which adds provisions to state law in response to the VC Summer failure.

It would prohibit lawmakers and candidates from office from soliciting or accepting campaign donations from utility companies and figures with business regulated by the state. It also requires lobbyists and the entity being lobbied for to file reports with the State Ethics Commission disclosing any "lobbying activities" or "work-related contacts" with state regulators who oversee power plant operations.

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