S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster wants SCE&G to give its customers a break on their power bills, sure to rise after this month’s winter storm.
While the utility is at it, McMaster — who is running for a four-year term this year — said again that he wants the Cayce-based utility to stop charging customers $37 million a month for two abandoned nuclear reactors.
“As we recover from Winter Storm Grayson, hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians will find not only Christmas bills in their mailbox but also large utility bills,” the Richland Republican wrote in a Jan. 9 letter to Jimmy Addison, chief executive of SCANA, SCE&G’s parent company.
SCE&G indicated Friday it won’t voluntarily reduce rates for the storm. A spokeswoman told The State any future billing adjustments will depend on its merger with Virginia-based Dominion Energy. Dominion has offered SCE&G customers a $1,000 cash refund and a $7-a-month cut in their power bills as part of that proposed buyout.
The recent cold weather, which left temperatures in much of the state below freezing for days, put a strain on SCE&G’s power grid.
On Jan. 3, the utility broke its own all-time record for energy use in a single day, a day after it asked customers to cut back their power consumption. Energy use was higher than normal each day during the first week of January, a spokeswoman said Friday.
SCE&G said Friday it is impossible to estimate how much customers can expect their bills to rise. That number depends on the weather as well as the energy efficiency of differing households.
McMaster did not suggest exactly how much SCE&G should cut from bills. But the move “would be much appreciated by the people of South Carolina – and certainly your customers,” he wrote.
McMaster also renewed his Oct. 19 request that SCE&G stop charging customers for a nuclear construction project it abandoned in July. The typical SCE&G electric customer still pays about $27 a month for the failed V.C. Summer expansion project.
“I continue to believe that it is unreasonable and oppressive for SCANA to require its customers to bear the burden of actions and decisions in which customers played no part and over which they had no control,” the governor wrote.