COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — South Carolina lawmakers on the Electricity Market Reform Measures Study Committee met Wednesday at the State House.

The committee was established by a joint resolution signed into law in 2020. They’ve been tasked with exploring options for electricity market reform in South Carolina.

That includes but is not limited to:

  • (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;
  • (k) other beneficial regulatory framework changes; and
  • (l) establishing or preserving consumer rate structures that more closely align consumer interests with electric system interests

The committee is working closely with various stakeholders on the best path forward.

One of the most impactful recommendations could be a decision to either start or join an RTO.

Proponents of RTOs say it would increase marketplace competition in the state and rates could go down for South Carolinians. Critics are skeptical about the impact on rates.

The panel will put together a final report for the rest of the General Assembly after their work is done.