Home » Legislative Hotlist: April 11, 2023

Legislative Hotlist: April 11, 2023

It was SO great seeing so many of you last week for our annual Lobby Day and Oyster Roast. Thanks to your help, we had some victories in the House for Crossover Day! Let’s dive in:

Crossover Day Wins: You were so good at lobbying your legislators for conservation we got two bills through the House!

The Conservation Enhancement Act (H.3786) passed by a vote of 93-20. One amendment helped ensure that the fee credited to the Conservation Bank fund jives with the growth or loss of the state’s General Fund. 

The DHEC Reform bill passed through the House with our automatic stay amendment intact. Despite several attempts to add amendments later found out of order, the bill passed by a vote of 97-16. 

Both of these bills now head to the Senate with five weeks of session left to go. The Conservation Enhancement Act will sit in the Finance Committee along with its companion bill, S.280. DHEC Reform will head to the Medical Affairs committee to contend with S.399 – Senator Peeler’s vision for DHEC Reform. 

Get Excited for Efficiency: Did you know that the cheapest form of energy is the energy we don’t have to generate? An efficient grid ensures energy we generate goes farther, lowering rates for all of us. But, right now, we have a leaky energy system. We’re not efficiently using the energy we are producing and are among the lowest-ranked states in the nation for energy efficiency. This leads to higher electric bills for South Carolinians and the need to build more expensive power plants. Currently, the SC Public Service Commission (PSC) approves energy efficiency programs proposed by investor-owned utilities on a case-by-case basis. There is no strong directive in state law requiring robust energy efficiency programs.

Other utilities in SC are not required to pursue energy efficiency programs or require PSC oversight of customer programs. This includes Santee Cooper, the Coops, and municipal utilities, resulting in a patchwork of different energy efficiency programs across South Carolina with vastly different results.

To that end, a conservation champ, Representative Deon Tedder, introduced a bill last week to address these issues. The bill, H.4282, would impose a stronger directive for electrical utilities to pursue all cost-effective efficiency programs. It would also direct the Office of Regulatory Staff to study how to form a third-party energy efficiency administrator, which could take these programs out of utility hands and place them into a more neutral agency. These are steps in the right direction, and we at CVSC can’t wait to work with Representative Tedder to get this bill rolling!

The Legislative Hotlist is a weekly update from our Government Relations Director, Meagan Diedolf. Sign up for emails to get the Hotlist delivered directly to your inbox!

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