State Energy Office Releases EV Report

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The S.C. State Energy Office has issued the S.C. Electric Vehicle Stakeholder Initiative’s report on the future of electric vehicles in South Carolina. Among its recommendations:

  • Develop and fund an EV workforce development plan for the state.
  • Support the adoption of e-bike implementation.
  • Determine the feasibility of EV infrastructure implementation at
    existing and new low- and moderate-income dwellings
  • Support the adoption of e-bike implementation.
  • Determine the feasibility of EV infrastructure implementation at
    existing and new low- and moderate-income dwellings
  • Create a Statewide Electrification Roadmap.
  • Expand the SC Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit.
  • Deploy EV infrastructure along critical corridors.
  • Create incentives and financing mechanisms to reduce the upfront
    costs for consumers

Read the full report.

Federal Law Offers Energy Efficiency Incentives

The New York Times reports the recently enacted “Inflation Reduction Act” offers several incentives for energy efficiency and conservation. If you are considering an upgrade, you should take them into account.

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  • Home Energy Efficiency–$600 per purchase/$1,200 per year on Energy Star Most Efficient appliances (extended through 2023)
  • Residential Renewable Energy–continues 30% federal tax credit on renewable energy investments like solar panels or geothermal heat pumps. There is also a credit for batteries.
  • Energy Efficient Appliance Rebates–these rebates of up to 100% of the cost of appliances will be income indexed.
  • Heat Pumps--federal tax credits of $2,000 to $8,000 depending on income.
  • Electric Vehicles--up to $7,500 on certain American-made EVs.
  • Used Electric Vehicles–a credit of 30% of the cost of the vehicle, up to $4,000, but the purchase price must be less than $25,000, and eligibility is limited by income.

The White House has a website that provides information on these programs.

The EU is taking drastic measures to deal with soaring energy costs

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The European Union is adopting sweeping measures to respond to skyrocketing energy prices. The Wall Street Journal reports that today, ministers of the European Union asked the European Commission to draft plans to cap revenue earned by nuclear, renewable, and other non-gas electricity producers. They also adopted measures to help financially impaired utilities and reduce demand. One proposal being considered would request each member country to reduce its overall electricity consumption by 10% and peak consumption by 5%. Europeans could see their bills increase as much as 80% due to disruptions in energy markets caused by the war in Ukraine.

Duke Energy Progress Applies to Raise Rates

As reported by SCNow:

“If approved by the PSCSC, the total net impact of the proposed increase to residential customer bills is 14.7%. Commercial and industrial customers will see an average increase of around 7.8% (actual rates vary by customer class and size).

If approved, the charge for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity beginning April 1, 2023, will increase $14.36 per month, from $133.01 to $147.37. Starting April 1, 2024, the total monthly impact for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month would increase an additional $4.40, for an average bill of $151.77 per month.” ….

“To ease the effects of these investments on its customers, the company’s rate request before the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) proposes phasing in the proposed rate increases over two years.”

Britain faces 80 percent increases in household energy bills

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Today’s New York Times reports that British energy regulator, Ofgem, is forecasting an 80% increase in household electricity and natural gas bills next year. A typical household would see its bills rise to £3,549 ($4,188) from £1,971 ($2,326). This comes on the heels of a 54% increase last April. According to the New York Times, the “main component in Ofgem’s calculations was a more than doubling of wholesale electricity and natural gas costs.” The United States has been somewhat sheltered from the effects of the war in Ukraine on world energy markets. But this story raises the question; “How would we handle such drastic increases?”

DMS update to drop next week

PSC practitioners anticipate updates to DMS much as the rest of the world hangs on the latest version of IOS. We just received notice of these new enhancements coming on Monday, July 18th:

  • Removal of the ability to efile in multiple dockets at one time. This change is necessary to reduce duplicate email notifications and incorrect watermarks.
  • Ability to eFile Excel spreadsheets.
  • PDF filings required to be text searchable.
  • Notice of Electronic Filing form updated to include hyperlinks to Docket and files.
  • Efile Coversheet updated to include additional Matter types.
  • E-Filing Status Notification email indicates Rejected Status in red lettering. Hyperlink to Docket added.
  • Duplicate email issue resolved where a Representative represents multiple Parties.
  • Ability to Confirm and View electronic service of Matters and Orders in eService notifications.
  • Added My DMS Help Button with link to the DMS and Efile System Training Videos.
  • Added Docket Number and Description columns on My DMS E-Service Request screens.
  • Calendar view added to the Meetings/Hearings tab.
  • A single NEF Email will be sent at the end of the day when multiple Letters of Protest/Comments have been received in a Docket during that day.

S.C. A.G. challenges DOE rules for dishwashers and washing machines

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Attorney General Alan Wilson joined eleven of his counterparts in a brief opposing the Department of Energy’s 2022 energy efficiency standards ( “Energy Conservation Program: Product Classes for Residential Dishwashers, Residential Clothes Washers, and Consumer Clothes Dryers.”) for dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. The new rule would repeal a 2020 rule that relaxed stricter appliance standards previously in place. Critics contend that consumers did not save energy with the stricter standards because they often ran the appliances twice to get their clothes or dishes clean. Read more here.

Georgia Public Service Commission faces federal voting rights suit

The trial of a federal voting rights suit challenging the manner in which members of the Georgia Public Service Commission are elected has finished and the parties await a decision. The plaintiffs, who were later joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, claim that Georgia’s method of electing Public Service Commissioners discriminates against Black voters and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Each Georgia Public Service Commissioner resides in and represents one of five regional districts, but all are elected statewide for six-year terms. The plaintiffs contend the at-large voting system dilutes minority representation and that Public Service Commissioners should be elected from single-member districts. Read more here.

USC law professor cited in US Supreme Court Opinion

The “Burnished Bronze and Garnet Chandelier” in the Perrin Family Lobby at the Senate Street entrance was designed specifically for the University of South Carolina School of Law by American artist, Dale Chihuly.

University of South Carolina School of Law Professor Nathan Richardson was cited by Justice Neal Gorsuch in his concurring opinion in West Virginia v E.PA. issued last week:

Other suggestive factors are present too. “The electric power sector is among the largest in the U. S. economy, with links to every other sector.” N. Richardson, Keeping Big Cases From Making Bad Law: The Resurgent “Major Questions” Doctrine, 49 Conn. L. Rev. 355, 388 (2016). T
West Virginia v. EPA, Nos. 20-1530, 20-1531, 20-1778, 20-1780, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 3268, at *68 (June 30, 2022)

Nice to see our law school get some good publicity!