Duke Energy executive says SC treating utility unfairly
GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) — A Duke Energy executive said the company is being treated unfairly by South Carolina regulators because they are angry at other utilities in the state.
The South Carolina Public Service Commission earlier this month called a Duke Energy proposal to increase electric bills for its 750,000 customers in the state by about $20 per month “tone deaf” and the company agreed to an increase of less than $5. The regulators also severely cut pay raises for utility executives based on South Carolina profits.
Regulators want to show they will punish utilities after Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas cost ratepayers billions of dollars for two nuclear plants that were never finished, Duke Energy Government and Community Relations District Manager Theo Lane told a Rotary Club in Greenwood on Tuesday.
“I have been here 30 years — and I tell you, I’d never thought I’d see it — I have seen conduct and comments from public service commissioners that I never thought I would, and I think I understand it,” Lane said, according to The Index Journal of Greenwood . “I think it’s simply that because of all the angst that was created, the Public Service Commission has kind of adopted the position that ‘we’ve got to show the public we’re going to punish the utilities.’”
During an earnings call earlier this month, Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good said the company will ask the South Carolina Public Service Commission for another public hearing on it proposed rate increase and may appeal decisions by regulators.
Lane echoed comments by his boss that if regulators keep eating into Duke Energy’s profits in South Carolina, than the utility and its foundation will have to carefully weigh future investment.
“To use my bosses’ term, they spit in our face,” Lane said. “Earnings translate into your ability to do things for your foundation, because that’s shareholder money, and you have to return shareholder value.”
Information from: The Index-Journal, http://www.indexjournal.com