AARP SC statement and letter

Posted on 01/11/21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 11, 2021
Contact: Patrick Cobb
803-261-0304 | pcobb@aarp.org

Statement from Teresa Arnold, AARP SC state director on Pausing Dominion Rate Hike Case

“Today, the parties involved, including AARP SC have agreed to a six-month pause in a rate hike request case (2020-125-E) that would affect the residential utility bills of more than 700,000 South Carolina ratepayers.”

“Over the past week and during three nights in November, the SC PSC heard from more than 160 individuals providing public comments regarding this rate hike. The majority of those testifying said that asking for a rate increase during a global pandemic was wrong.  Many said they were already having a hard time paying their bills.

Being part of the PSC process and testifying made a difference. By taking a timeout in the case, ratepayers will not see an increase in power bills during the heavy summer usage months.”

“We appreciate the leadership from all parties including the Office of Regulatory Staff and Public Service Commission. AARP SC will continue its quest for fair and reasonable utility rates for our members and families during these trying economic times.”

AARP SC filed a letter Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, asking for a delay in any rate hike due to the pandemic. The letter can be found at this link.

-aarpsc-


AARP SC filed the following letter to the PSC to ask for a delay in any rate hike.


January 8, 2021

South Carolina Public Service Commission
100 Executive Center Drive
Suite 100
Columbia, SC 29210


Re: Docket 2020-125-E

Dear Commissioners:

The state of emergency caused by the global COVID-19 health pandemic has placed numerous hardships on South Carolina families. The proposed Dominion Energy rate case has triggered a great deal of interest from AARP South Carolina’s members who are served by the electric company Dominion Energy.

AARP is grateful to the Commission for the manner in which it has allowed individual customers to speak up and explain how the pending rate increase could impact their households, even despite the difficulties of doing so during this pandemic.  I truly appreciate the willingness of the Commission to hold public hearings and thank you for accommodating our members in such a trying time.

I have listened to many hours of the virtual public testimony given in this case, including the testimony given last night.  Several customers have told of heart-breaking situations, detailing the economic hardships that would result from a rate increase at this time during the height of the pandemic.  Over and over again, we all have heard that a rate increase at this time would be devastating.

“Your seniors are not doing well, especially the ones just on Social Security and trying to stay in their homes. Food has gone up and we are trying to keep stocked up in case the virus gets worse or we get sick.”

“Some of us are having to help our children or grandchildren. We're terrified to go out, we shop quickly, property taxes went up, house upkeep is high, we fight constantly to pay when the utilities raise rates from water to trash pickup.” Barbara Summers, Lexington, SC  

This is just an example and I know there are more similar stories.

If the commission grants any rate increase to Dominion Energy, I ask that the implementation of any increase be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  South Carolinians are hurting emotionally and struggling financially during this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Sincerely,



Teresa Arnold
AARP South Carolina State Director 

cc: Parties of Record in the Docket

This story is provided by AARP South Carolina. Visit the AARP South Carolina page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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