Greg Duckworth | Electric Cooperatives, Judges, and Phone Spoofers
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12 Feb Electric Cooperatives, Judges, and Phone Spoofers

After more than a month into the session, the subcommittees are hearing bills, passing them along to full committees, and then out onto the floor for debate and voting as the SC House is now into full swing - and here are a few highlights.

The bipartisan House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee met again this past week to further discuss the future of electric cooperative ratepayers who rely on Santee Cooper for their electricity. The Committee’s main concern, and my main concern, continues to be the protection of all ratepayers. The fact-finding meeting lasted several hours as representatives from the electric cooperative industry discussed their current status and future trajectory.

I attend a hearing of the bipartisan SC House Energy Caucus along with colleagues - learning how SC can manage our energy rates - exploring “all of the above” options for our energy future.

As with SCE&G ratepayers, Santee Cooper also passed on VC Summer costs to electric cooperative ratepayers. While each power bill might vary depending on the service region, electric cooperative ratepayers, as a whole, pay about 5% off their total electricity costs in VC Summer fees. A Santee Cooper bill is still pending in our ratepayer protection package and I will provide you further updates on protecting ratepayers as information becomes available.

My Chief of Staff, Monroe Baldwin, was with me in Columbia this past Tuesday, meeting with SC Energy Caucus cochairs discussing an upcoming hearing. We also met with representatives from the electric cooperatives to get a better understanding of ratepayer impacts from the VC Summer nuclear surcharge.

The South Carolina Constitution requires judges to be elected by members of the General Assembly in Joint Assembly. So, this past Wednesday, members of the Senate joined my colleagues and me in the House chamber as 23 judicial positions were voted on. Prior to being judicial candidates, individuals seeking judicial office are screened by a committee to ensure they are upstanding citizens and possess the competency and qualifications necessary to serve on the bench.

Finally, the House Labor Commerce and Industry Committee finalized plans to vote this coming week on a bill to combat telephone scammers and spoofers. You may have even received one of these telephone calls yourself. For those not familiar, using local phone numbers to disguise the true geographic location of the caller is a technique called “spoofing”. These scammers target the elderly and in some cases even use social media to mine information then used to confuse unsuspecting victims. The bill would set regulatory penalties and allow state enforcement authorities to investigate and fine people who break the anti-spoofing law.

A point of personal privilege - I want you all to meet my Page here in the SC House of Representatives, Robbie Anderson - a wonderful young man from a fine Horry County family! Robbie is studying Political Science and Business here at USC. It’s a small world as we both learned that Robbie’s great aunt, Joyce McIntyre Chadwick, is a close friend to my mother, Macky Collins White, from her high school and college days - they remain in touch to this day!

Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me.