What The PSC Does
The PSC hears cases and makes decisions regarding the rates, infrastructure needs, and other financial and operational matters of private utilities operating in South Carolina (energy, water, and sewer utilities, etc).
The PSC is charged with ensuring that electricity, water, and other utility services are reliable, available to all South Carolinians, and are as affordable as possible now and in the future. It also considers the financial integrity of the utilities as well as South Carolina’s natural resources. This balancing act requires a keen understanding of economics, finance, law, environmental science, and industry developments that impact investment decisions. It also requires careful scrutiny and fair consideration of each stakeholder’s input—from the utilities themselves to ORS, business interests, environmental organizations and others.
The PSC often requires supporting economic analyses and testimony to show the need for new plant construction or implementation of new programs. Other stakeholders, such as industrial customers, consumer advocates, or conservation groups, may request permission from the PSC to participate directly in the proceedings/dockets/cases. These stakeholders are allowed to provide additional data and perspectives on the utility’s request.
Because the PSC itself does not investigate or audit the regulated utilities, it is assisted by a separate state agency, the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS). ORS is automatically included as a party in all PSC proceedings and charged with representing the public’s interest. ORS seeks to balance the potential conflicting concerns of consumers and South Carolina’s economic future.