FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PPI Contact: Lawson Mansell
In the wake of V.C. Summer Anniversary, Palmetto Promise Institute and Conservative Energy Network Release Electricity Price Study
COLUMBIA, SC – A new study released today by Palmetto Promise Institute (PPI) and The Conservative Energy Network (CEN) titled “Assessing the Spectrum of Reform: How Collaboration & Competition in South Carolina Could Help Lower Some of America’s Highest Electricity Bills” examines how electricity competition could save Palmetto State residents money. The report arrives just after the fifth anniversary of the shutdown at V.C. Summer and is hard on the heels of a significant rate increase request from Duke Energy Carolinas.
Each year, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports average residential electricity bills by state. South Carolina is frequently in the top five. In 2016, the Palmetto State’s average residential electricity bills were ranked Number 1 (the highest) in America. There are various reasons for this dubious honor, including the Palmetto State’s long hot summers and the long cold death march of the V.C. Summer nuclear project. (The Jenkinsville plant expansion was shut down exactly five years ago, July 31, 2017.) But weather and mismanagement can be blamed for only so much of the power bill sticker shock experienced by some of the poorest ratepayers in America.
One significant cost of high electricity prices is lack of competition. South Carolina is situated in the only region in the United States without some form of wholesale or retail competition in the market for electricity.
The study, written by PPI’s Dr. Oran Smith along with two economists (Dr. Kathleen Player of Clemson Economics Associates, and Dr. Michael Scott of East Central University in Oklahoma) lays out multiple options for achieving lower costs and lower prices.
Palmetto Promise Institute’s Founding Chairman Jim DeMint likes the timing of the report. “The General Assembly’s ‘Electricity Market Reform Study Committee’ has put a spotlight on South Carolina’s high electricity prices. PPI’s groundbreaking new study furthers the Committee’s important conversation, showing how competition can lower prices and make the Palmetto State more competitive by shifting risk for expensive generation assets away from ratepayers.”
Brittany Zwierzchowski Tisler, interim CEO of The Conservative Energy Network likes a number of the options along the spectrum presented in the work. “The competition-centered model used in Texas is king when it comes to forcing electricity prices down, but Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) have been successful as well,” said Zwierzchowski Tisler. “CEN strongly believes that every option should be on the table. Spectrum of Reform is a must-read primer for anyone interested in understanding the range of policy alternatives for cheaper and cleaner energy in America.”