PURC Sets Schedule for PSC Elections

The Public Utilities Review Committee has announced the screening and election schedule for PSC seats 1, 3, 5 & 7. PURC will take applications from September 16, 2019 until Noon on October 11, 2019. The screening report is expected to be issued on January 13, 2020, culminating in elections on February 5, 2020. Dates are subject to change. More information is available on the PURC website.

At least one candidate, Bonny Loomis, the Executive Director of the SC Clean Energy Business Alliance, has announced her intention to run.

Heigel Moves Up

PR Newswire – “The Corix Group of Companies (Corix) today announced that Catherine Heigel has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Corix Regulated Utilities, Inc., effective August 15, 2019. As EVP and COO, Catherine will report to Lisa Sparrow, President and CEO, Corix Group of Companies, and have responsibility for the regulated water and wastewater utilities owned and operated by Corix Regulated Utilities in the United States and Canada. Corix Regulated Utilities provides safe drinking water and environmentally responsible wastewater service to over 1 million people. ” Read more Congratulations, Catherine!

Richard Whitt Opens New Law Firm

Veteran regulatory lawyer Richard Whitt has opened a new firm, the Whitt Law Firm, LLC. Richard is a great lawyer and has always been generous with his advice. Another utility mainstay, Jeff Griffith, has joined the firm as of counsel. Their address is 401 Western Lane, Suite E, Irmo 29063 – (803) 995-7719. Congratulations, fellas!

Willie Morgan is Retiring

Willie Morgan (right) and Jeff Nelson (left) inspect a plant

ORS’s Deputy Director of Utility Rates, Willie J. Morgan, is retiring after 37 years of public service. Known for his white glove inspections of wastewater treatment facilities and his dogged insistence on NARUC water loss audits, Willie zealously represented the public interest during his 15 years with ORS. He was also a gentleman and a consummate professional. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Duke Energy Names New South Carolina President

According to a Duke Energy press release, “Michael Callahan – currently vice president of investor relations – will succeed Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe as South Carolina state president.

Callahan, 44, will manage state and local regulatory and government relations in South Carolina. He will work closely with the corporate and regulatory strategy team to advance legislative, rate and regulatory initiatives in the state. His team also leads community relations for Duke Energy across the Palmetto State. “

Current South Carolina President, Ghartey-Tagoe “will become executive vice president, chief legal officer for the company” Congratulations, Kodwo!

PSC To Vet Consultants in Special Meetings

The Public Service Commission will hold a special meetings on August 12, 2019 at 10:00 am and on August 19, 2019 at 10:00 am during which it will hear presentations from prospective consultants to advise the Commission as it conducts proceedings required by the SC Energy Freedom Act. On Wednesday, August 8, 2019, the PSC cut ties withe Pegasus Global Holdings due to its ties to utility industry.

Fourth Circuit Ruling Deals Setback to Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Rusty patched bumble bee feeding on wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Photo Kim Mitchell; USFWS

For the second time, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, has reversed opinions of the US Fish and Wildlife Service which would have allowed construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to proceed. The Endangered Species Act requires the FWS to make a determination of whether a proposed project, such as the ACP, will threaten endangered species. The Fourth Circuit vacated the FWS’s finding that the proposed pipeline would not jeopardize the rusty patched bumble bee and the clubshell, and the agency’s finding of permissible “take limits” for the Indiana Bat and the Madison Cave isopod. The decision requires USFW make new findings, but the Department of Interior could move for rehearing en banc before the Fourth Circuit and appeal to the US Supreme Court if it does not prevail in the rehearing. No word on how the agency will proceed at this time. The plaintiffs, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and Virginia Wilderness Committee were represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center. The opinion is Gregory v U.S. Department of Interior, No. 18-2090, US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, July 26, 2019.