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Who is Involved and What are their Roles

Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSC)

The PSC is a state agency that decides how much certain utility companies can charge consumers. When a utility asks for a rate increase, Commissioners act as judges. They must approve any rate increases.


South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS)

The ORS is a state agency that investigates and audits a utility’s request for a rate increase and helps to keep consumers informed. The ORS cannot approve or disapprove increases. The ORS can provide information and recommendations to the PSC to help the PSC decide what to do.


South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)

The DCA's mission is to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, mediation, enforcement, and education. The Consumer Advocate, housed within the DCA, can choose to participate in rate cases to advocate for the interest of consumers who purchase utility services for a personal, family, or household purpose.


Utility

The applicant in a rate case. Utilities regulated by the PSC include various industries— electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water/wastewater, and transportation. These utilities are owned by shareholders or private owners. The ORS does not regulate the rates of electric cooperatives or utilities owned by local governments.

  • The PSC must approve rates for all regulated electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater companies.
  • The PSC does not set rates for regulated telecommunications companies.
  • The PSC only oversees transportation companies that are household movers and private personal transportation carriers such as charter buses and taxi cabs; there is no public hearing for these companies.

Intervenors

Businesses, consumer groups, individuals, and others who want to participate in the case by asking questions of the utility and cross-examining other intervenors. Intervenors may participate in all the legal activities, such as depositions, prefiling of testimony, settlement negotiations, and proposed orders.


Consumers

Members of the general public, companies, or groups who receive services. These include consumers of regulated electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water/wastewater, and transportation companies. Consumers may want to share information about how rate increases will impact them.