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SC committee approves proposals that could save utility customers money

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COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) --- A panel of House lawmakers voting to move forward on six proposals aimed at saving money for more 700,000 power customers. This after SCE&G and Santee Cooper abandoned that nuclear project in Fairfield County.

House Representative James Smith, D- Richland, weighing in said there needs to be more accountability. "I think there really needs to be that public accountability for keeping ratepayer's rates and protecting ratepayers,” Smith said. “The public needs to be able to know who is responsible for them, who do they go to?"

House members remain undecided on who will act as a consumer advocate or whether to allow oversight from the Attorney General's office. House Representative Gary Clary, R-Pickens, said he wants to see an independent commission formed. "We don't need the Attorney General's eyes on it, we need this person that's going to be the consumer advocate being independent and doing the job that he or she is supposed to do," Clary said.” I am really in favor of an independent commission that would follow the criteria that we've established in this bill."

House Representative Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, said the Attorney General would be accountable to the voters and the people of South Carolina no matter what side of the politic spectrum they fall on. A Senate committee reviewing the failed nuclear job also meeting Tuesday. But, some aren't so sure about plans that would issue refunds or freeze utility rates.

Some lawmakers said they shouldn't be involved with decisions made by a private company like SCE&G. "The house goes its own way, the Senate goes its own way,” Clary said. “But at the end of the day hopefully we are going to reach some kind of a compromise."

The six proposals still have a ways to go before becoming law. They head to the house floor when the general assembly meets in January.

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