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South Carolina Governor Signs Bill Requiring Competitive Electricity Supply Program

May 17, 2019

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Copyright 2010-19
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed H. 3659, which requires development of a program which is to allow large customers to direct their utility to purchase renewable energy from a competitive provider on the customer's behalf

As noted below, while the bill directs the creation of a renewable energy competitive supply program from large customers, details of the program are left to the PSC (including the amount of any fees), and the viability of such program will be dependent on implementation at the PSC

H. 3659 defines "voluntary renewable energy program" to mean a tariff filed with the PSC ("commission") by an electrical utility that enables a participating commercial or industrial customer to receive and pay for electric service, that reflects the program cost, and that includes the environmental attributes specified in the participating customer agreement and renewable energy contract, including a generation credit for such renewable energy, from the electrical utility pursuant to the terms of the tariff.

H. 3659 defines "eligible customer" to mean a retail customer with a new or existing contract demand greater than or equal to one megawatt at a single-metered location or aggregated across multiple-metered locations.

H. 3659 defines "participating customer" to mean an eligible customer that elects to have a portion or all of its electricity needs supplied by a voluntary renewable energy program.

H. 3659 provides that each electrical utility shall file a proposed voluntary renewable energy program for review and approval by the PSC ("commission"). The commission shall conduct a proceeding to review the program and establish reasonable terms and conditions for the program.

H. 3659 provides that, at a minimum, the program shall provide that:

(1) the participating customer shall have the right to select the renewable energy facility and negotiate with the renewable energy supplier on the price to be paid by the participating customer for the energy, capacity, and environmental attributes of the renewable energy facility and the term of such agreement so long as such terms are consistent with the voluntary renewable program service agreement as approved by the commission;

(2) the renewable energy contract and the participating customer agreement must be of equal duration;

(3) in addition to paying a retail bill calculated pursuant to the rates and tariffs that otherwise would apply to the participating customer, reduced by the amount of the generation credit, a participating customer shall reimburse the electrical utility on a monthly basis for the amount paid by the electrical utility to the renewable energy supplier pursuant to the participating customer agreement and renewable energy contract, plus an administrative fee approved by the commission; and

(4) eligible customers must be allowed to bundle their demand under a single participating customer agreement and renewable energy contract and must be eligible annually to procure an amount of capacity as approved by the commission.

H. 3659 further provides as follows:

• The commission may approve a program that provides for options that include, but are not limited to, both variable and fixed generation credit options.

• The commission may limit the total portion of each electrical utility's voluntary renewable energy program that is eligible for the program at a level consistent with the public interest and shall provide standard terms and conditions for the participating customer agreement and the renewable energy contract, subject to commission review and approval.

• A participating customer shall bear the burden of any reasonable costs associated with participating in a voluntary renewable energy program. An electrical utility may not charge any nonparticipating customers for any costs incurred pursuant to the provisions of this section.

• A renewable energy facility may be located anywhere in the electrical utility's service territory within the utility's balancing authority.

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