After the PSC issues a final order, a party to the proceeding may appeal or ask for a different decision from the PSC by:
- Asking the PSC to reconsider all or part of its decision; or
- Asking the South Carolina Supreme Court to overturn all or part of the PSC’s order.
A utility’s formal request to the PSC to implement a change. Requested changes include increasing rates.
A written legal document that attempts to persuade the PSC to accept a particular position.
The parties in a case can request information from each other. This process is called discovery. Discovery allows the parties to obtain full knowledge of the issues and facts of the case before going to hearing.
A system to organize all information filed for a particular case. Each case is given a specific docket number. Any information involved with a case will be associated with this docket number.
Information in a docket can include a(n)
- Directive Hearing Officer
- Directive Order
- General Matter
- ORS Letter Indicating No Objection
- Petition to Intervene
- Prefiled Testimony Letter
- Publisher's Affidavit
- Supplemental Exhibit
- Transmittal Letter
More information on dockets and the PSC’s Document Management System (DMS) can be learned through DMS Training Modules.
Each party in a case presents evidence to support its position. Because utility cases are highly technical and very complicated, testimony from witnesses is submitted in advance of formal hearings so other parties can evaluate, understand, and address it. The discovery process allows parties to receive additional written information and to question witnesses through depositions as they build their cases. Parties may also reply to each other’s filings through rebuttal or surrebuttal testimony.
When a document becomes part of the docket, it is filed.
Where the utility, the ORS, and intervenors present evidence and arguments to the PSC.
- The PSC conducts a hearing - similar to a trial in civil court.
- Evidence offered into the record must meet the same standards as used in court. Witnesses are placed under oath and their previously filed testimony is subject to cross-examination by the other parties.
- While hearings are open to the public for observation, the PSC can restrict testimony and cross-examination to witnesses who pre-filed written testimony.
Consumers can attend hearings in person or watch on the PSC Livestream.
An official written document intended to conclude a case. After considering and deliberating on the evidence presented in the case, the PSC issues a final written order.
The filing of a petition before the PSC is usually the first step in a rate case.
- The petition is a legal document that briefly describes the request and includes general facts about the proposal.
- A utility files a petition when it seeks to change its rates, expand its service territory, or make other changes to the regulated aspects of its operations.
This is a brief, preliminary meeting during which the parties may establish a procedural schedule, including filing and hearing dates. The utility, the ORS, and other parties to the proceeding may also discuss the number and scope of issues to be addressed in the case.
A document in which a party proposes specific language for the PSC’s final order.
A public hearing allows consumers to speak directly to the PSC regarding a specific case. Written and oral comments submitted at hearings may be part of the record of evidence reviewed by Commissioners when making a final decision.
The response of one party to another party’s testimony.
An official report of documents and evidence presented during a case.
In certain cases, parties are able to negotiate settlement agreements.
- The ORS encourages agreements that provide a fair benefit to consumers. Settlements alleviate the time and expense of litigation – costs that are ultimately borne by consumers through their utility bills.
- A settlement can be reached at any time while a case is pending but must receive PSC approval before taking effect.
A response to the opposing party’s rebuttal.
When a utility, intervenor, or consumer presents testimony to the PSC.
A formal written or spoken statement by consumers, the utility, the ORS, intervenors, or witnesses in a case.