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South Carolina House Passes Resolution To Require Study Of "Full" Retail Electric Choice

February 24, 2020

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Copyright 2010-20
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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The South Carolina House has passed a joint resolution (H 4940) to require a study of electricity market reforms, including an examination of "full" retail electric choice

H 4940 awaits action in the Senate

H 4940 would require the creation of an Electricity Market Reform Measures Study Committee

The Committee would be required to study whether to recommend any of a variety of electricity market reform measures, encompassing the full range of possible market reforms that may benefit South Carolina consumers including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) establishing a South Carolina Regional Transmission Organization or an RTO including South Carolina and other Southeastern states;

(b) joining an existing RTO;

(c) establishing an energy imbalance market;

(d) requiring vertically integrated electrical utilities to divest their generation or transmission assets, or both;

(e) enabling full consumer retail electric service choice;

(f) enabling partial consumer retail electric service choice such as nonresidential customer choice;

(g) authorizing community choice aggregation in South Carolina;

(h) redesigning the distribution system operator role in South Carolina to accommodate a modernized distribution grid featuring high levels of distributed energy resources, including exploration of establishing an independent distribution system operator and distribution-level electricity markets;

(i) measures to accelerate reductions in emissions associated with South Carolina's electricity supply;

(j) establishing joint dispatch agreements among state or regional utilities; and

(k) other beneficial regulatory framework changes;

The resolution provides that, at a minimum, the study shall address the following issues:

(1) the legal and procedural requirements associated with adoption of any recommended electricity market reform measures, including identification of existing laws, regulations, and policies that may need to be amended in order to implement the electricity market reform measures;

(2) the potential costs and benefits to South Carolina electric consumers and ratepayers of each electricity market reform measure studied based on factors including, but not limited to: generation production cost savings, fuel savings, transmission cost savings, battery storage, reliability, resiliency, generation resource diversity, generator availability, the promotion and integration of demand response and energy efficiency, deployment of renewable resources, deferral of capital investments, the effect on economic development and retention of industry, and impact on consumer rates and service quality in the short and long term; and

(3) the experience of other states with adopting each electricity market reform measure studied.

The resolution provides that, by January 12, 2021, the study committee shall issue a report on its work to the General Assembly

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