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Public Utilities

Sep 11, 2023

Public Utilities – Ratemaking – Multiple Appeals – Reparations Surcharge – Appeals Bond or Other Arrangements

It took several appeals and several years for the appellant-utility to finally get the rate increase amount it had requested (though in a different configuration). Although the utility asserts that it was unable to afford an appeals bond for the whole of the appellate period, the Public Service Commission correctly determined that it lacked the […]

Jan 15, 2019

SC regulators change minds, rule utility misled them

South Carolina regulators have changed their minds and ruled that a private utility did intentionally withhold information and mislead them about a project to build a pair of nuclear reactors that ultimately failed. The Public Service Commission voted Monday that South Carolina Electric & Gas was “imprudent” in its dealing with regulators over the reactors. […]

Nov 14, 2018

SC Supreme Court considering utility dispute

South Carolina’s highest court is suggesting Gov. Henry McMaster and state lawmakers work together on the fallout from a state-owned utility’s part in a failed nuclear project. The Post and Courier of Charleston reported the justices heard arguments Thursday in a dispute between McMaster and lawmakers over the appointment of a new chairman for Santee […]

Oct 20, 2017

Antitrust – State Action Immunity – Public Utilities – Santee Cooper – Supra-competitive Prices

Century Aluminum of South Carolina, Inc. v. South Carolina Public Service Authority (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-171-17, 20 pp.) (Richard Mark Gergel, J.) 2:17-cv-00274; D.S.C. Holding: Where the defendant-electric utility has been granted a monopoly in a clear articulation of state policy, and where defendant is actively supervised by a state-appointed board of directors, defendant is […]

Nov 4, 2016

Real Property – Public Utilities – Prescriptive Easements – Adverse Use – Claim of Right – Open & Notorious

Simmons v. Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-082-16, 12 pp.) (Donald Beatty, Acting Chief Justice) Appealed from Charleston County (Mikell Scarborough, Master-in-Equity) On writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. S.C. S. Ct. Holding: In proving the elements of a prescriptive easement “adverse use” and “claim of right” are, in effect, one […]

May 2, 2016

Civil Practice – Federal Question Jurisdiction – Public Utilities – Hydroelectric Power – Water Release – Flooding – Tort/Negligence

Funderburk v. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-084-16, 18 pp.) (J. Michelle Childs, J.) 3:15-cv-04660; D.S.C. Holding: Plaintiffs’ negligence claim – that their house was flooded when defendant negligently opened three floodgates at once – is based on an alleged duty of care that can only arise from defendant’s maintenance and […]

May 2, 2016

Tort/Negligence – Public Utilities – Downed Power Line – NESC Compliance – Gunshot

Nespeca v. Duke Energy Carolinas LLC (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-083-16, 11 pp.) (Mary Geiger Lewis, J.) 7:15-cv-00222; D.S.C. Holding: Even though a downed power line caused a fire that damaged plaintiff’s property, since plaintiff failed to show that defendant had failed to comply with the National Electrical Safety Code, or that the bullet that severed […]

Feb 8, 2016

Real Property – Public Utilities – Cable TV – Trunk Line – Tenant’s Permission

Johnson v. Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse Partnership (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-023-16, 9 pp.) (Cameron McGowan Currie, J.) 3:15-cv-01727; D.S.C. Holding: There is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a tenant had the authority to permit the defendant-cable company to install a trunk line, which served other customers, on plaintiff’s land. The cable company’s […]

Aug 10, 2012

Taxation – Public Utilities – ‘Telephone Company’ – Cell Phone Service Providers – Statutory Ambiguity

Alltel Communications, Inc. v. South Carolina Department of Revenue S.C. Code Ann. § 12-20-100 imposes higher license fees on certain companies, including every “telephone company.” Since the statute does not define “telephone company”, it is ambiguous. We construe the ambiguity in favor of the petitioner-taxpayers – cellular telephone service providers – and rule that the st[...]

Jul 11, 2012

Civil Practice – Class Action Certification Motion – Denied – Individual Issues Predominate – Real Property – Public Utilities – Easements

Dutton v. Carolina Power & Light Co. Defendant has been granted several types of easements, and defendant gave notice, by various methods, that it was using its electric power easements for general telecommunications purposes. Individual issues predominate as to what use is allowed by the various types of easements and as to whether property owners received notice of the use of the easeme[...]

Jul 11, 2012

Real Property – Easements – Contract – Unjust Enrichment – Matters Outside Easement – Public Utilities

Dutton v. Carolina Power & Light Co. Even though there is an express contract between the parties – an easement – since plaintiff contends that defendant is using the easement for purposes not covered by the easement, plaintiff has made out a claim for unjust enrichment. Defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment is denied.

Jun 4, 2012

Environmental – Civil Practice – Standing – River Pollution – Public Utilities – Administrative – Licenses & Permits

Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Inc. v. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. Even though defendant’s power plant is downstream from the areas mentioned in plaintiff’s articles of incorporation, plaintiff’s activities indicate a concern with the entire watershed of the Catawba River. Plaintiff has indicated a valid interest in the Wateree River region.

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