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What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary and informal process to encourage resolution and settlement of a dispute. The mediator is not a judge and does not make a ruling on the issues in controversy. The mediator does not act as an attorney for either party and does not represent either side in the dispute. Instead, the mediator facilitates settlement by working with the parties to resolve the dispute.

Mediation allows the parties to take control of and bear responsibility for decisions in the matter. The parties can participate in crafting a resolution or settlement that is acceptable to all parties.

Who participates in mediation?
Mediation services are offered by the ORS and are available to any party involved in a dispute within the jurisdiction of the PSC. ORS representatives will act as mediators.

Where does mediation take place?
Mediation may take place in a variety of contexts. Mediation may be conducted over the phone, in a neutral location of the parties’ and mediator’s choosing, or at the offices of the ORS located at 1401 Main Street, Suite 900, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.

How much does mediation cost?
Mediation is free of charge.

Do I lose my right to a hearing before the PSC if I participate in mediation?
No, you do not lose your right to a hearing before the PSC if you participate in mediation. The mediation proceedings are privileged. In other words, nothing said during mediation may be introduced into evidence in a later proceeding or hearing if the parties fail to resolve the dispute through mediation. However, if the mediation resolves the dispute, a hearing will be unnecessary.

What am I responsible for in mediation proceedings?
Participants and their counsel, if any, agree to attend or participate in the mediation conference with full authority to enter a binding resolution of the issues. The parties agree to put forth their best efforts to resolve the matter and to engage in open communication with the other parties to the dispute and the mediator. Additionally, the parties agree to be available for the full day of the scheduled mediation and any additional dates which may be scheduled as necessary.