Caution on energy
The very future of the state’s ability to provide clean and affordable energy to its residents and businesses will be significantly affected by the decisions that legislators make this year.
At least one proposal from Virginia-based Dominion Energy to buy SCANA offers an imperfect deal for customers, but one substantial enough that it merits serious consideration. Other offers are reportedly on the table to purchase the state-owned Santee Cooper.
If lawmakers act too quickly to roll back electric rates or otherwise alter the economics of those deals, they could fall through before public officials have had time to consider all of their options. That would be a mistake.
It is clear, however, that the Base Load Review Act can safely be repealed. That disastrous 2007 law allowed SCANA to mismanage a multibillion-dollar project into complete failure while pushing the economic consequences of that failure onto the backs of customers.
The BLRA is in many regards the root of this entire debacle, and there is no reason for lawmakers to do anything other than scrap it.
Indeed, the BLRA is the prime example of the necessity for legislative deliberation. It was passed by the Legislature without anything approaching adequate scrutiny, and sure enough, the state and electrical ratepayers are paying the price.
This week, a sitting governor and a man who hopes to be the next governor each get a thumbs up.
It’s only right, then, that we begin with the sitting governor, Henry McMaster, who gets a thumbs up for his stance on offshore drilling. McMaster is going against the tide on the issue. An early supporter of candidate Donald Trump, McMaster is not standing with the president on this issue. The Trump administration plans to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and off the Atlantic coast, but McMaster understands the potential impact — environmental and financial — a drilling disaster portends for the state. And so he’s seeking an exemption for the Palmetto State’s coast. Good to see.
Gubernatorial candidate Phil Noble … gets a thumbs up for citing The Greenwood Promise elsewhere across the state as a gleaming example of how local people can do a good job of addressing local problems. The Democrat did not go so far as to say less government is good government, but he obviously does recognize the fact that lawmakers as a whole do not always know — or do — what is best for those they represent.
South Carolina’s economy remains strong and stable, and Palmetto State residents can expect that stability to continue this year.
Doug Woodward, director of research (at USC’s Darla Moore School of Business), and Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist, presented their 2018 forecast Dec. 8 to nearly 250 of the state’s business and community leaders at the 37th Annual Economic Outlook Conference.
They say South Carolina should see broad-based growth continue across most industries with accompanying gains in employment and income.
Von Nessen said the single best indicator of economic performance – job creation – is expected to grow at 2.1 percent in 2018.…
Despite the positive outlook for 2018, Von Nessen said addressing workforce challenges in South Carolina will be vital.
“Labor availability will be the bottleneck of economic growth in 2018,” Von Nessen said.
Reality is that today’s manufacturers and businesses cannot find enough people with the skills to fill their jobs. Thus the emphasis on educating and training people is more vital than ever – and particularly so in an area such as The T&D Region looking to show prospects there is a workforce ready to meet their needs.
With bridging the skills gap, attracting development and creating new jobs high on the agenda here, The T&D Region welcomes the opportunity to put more people to work in 2018 and beyond.