Why shouldn’t utilities have to sell us the cheapest power they can?

For the past eight years, the S.C. Christian Coalition has advocated for greater energy independence and a more diverse portfolio.

As part of that conversation, we have regularly encouraged increased use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy.

One major benefit of renewable energy is the fixed cost of fuel. While globally priced energy sources such as coal and gas are subject to market fluctuations, wind and solar energy costs are fixed, because there is no charge for the “fuel” that creates the electricity. Most of the cost is in upfront charges for the equipment to be installed.

With advances in technology, wind and solar energy have become more affordable, and utility-scale projects are often willing to sell power onto the grid at costs that are lower than our monopoly utilities can create it for themselves.

With South Carolinians paying some of the highest electric rates in the country, there ought to be a way for us to benefit from this. If we don’t have a competitive market for electricity, the least we can do is ensure that our monopoly utilities offer us the most affordable power available and pass any savings they achieve on to all of us, the ratepayers.

Sen. Tom Davis’ Energy Freedom Act (S.890) would require just that: Utilities would have to purchase power from independent providers if it costs them less than they could produce it for themselves. Those savings would have to be passed on their customers. This is good for our families, helping to make ends meet, and provide for basic needs with funds that would otherwise be going to the electric bill.

Affordable, domestic energy benefits all of us. The dollars we save can be used to make purchases from local stores, support local charities, hire local contractors to do work and save money to provide more security for our families.

Now is the time for us to move beyond talking about greater energy independence and more affordable energy and take action to make those things a reality. The Energy Freedom Act has been added to the Senate version of the budget. Help do your part by asking your state legislators to make it a law.