Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Despite abandoning Columbia, Cayce-based SCANA requests taxpayer funds

[caption id="attachment_3610" align="alignleft" width="111" caption="Opinion By Paul Blake"]

In a letter dated April 13, 2011, District Manager Kelvin Rogers of South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) practically demanded that the taxpayers of Columbia spend $18,075 to help his firm paint some utility poles.

“SCE&G has been working with Ron Armstead on the projects of painting steel poles in the Downtown Columbia area,” Rogers wrote, in his letter to CIty Manager Steve Gantt. “At this time, we need your commitment from the City of Columbia supporting the financial side of this project.”

This pitiful plea for paint money came from the same company that pulled in a record $348 million in profits last year. (Revenues were over 4 billion.)

Rogers concluded the letter by boldly invoking his franchise agreement with Columbia.

“Please send me a copy of this letter with signed acknowledgement giving SCE&G permission to proceed with this project and the City’s commitment to fund the $18,075.00 construction cost,” he wrote. “This cost will be considered part of the Non-Standard Service fund in the Franchise Agreement.”

Lets quickly go over how this franchise agreement came to be and SCE&G’s dismal track record in Columbia, S.C.

The company spent the 80’s and 90’s running the bus system into the ground.  During 20 years of management of the line, SCANA never purchased a single new bus.

In order to ensure that the Securities and Exchange commission would approve the  firm’s takeover of a North Carolina gas company, in 2002, they had to dump our ailing bus system, entirely.

SCANA used that shining moment to convince the Columbia City Council to hand them a 30 year monopoly on the city’s electric supply.

In March of 2006, City Paper reported that the power company was planning to use eminent domain to take an elderly woman’s property in Euclair during their expansion of a power substation.

Further investigation led to the discovery that the existing SCE&G-owned property in the neighborhood had been neglected for years.

After three-month of railing about it in the newspaper, the utility giant finally cleaned up the property and backed off taking Mrs. Jones’ house.

In 2007 (as part of a lovely fuck-you to Columbia taxpayers) the company abandoned its Main Street offices and moved their headquarters to Cayce.

They might as well have turned off our power while we were in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner.

You know what would pay for a couple cans of Rose Talbert Paint?

The taxes SCE&G should be paying for offices on Main Street, in a city that helped make them $348 million dollars last year!

Thanks to the shit-eating monkeys that run this town, it appears that SCE&G will continue to pump the town for everything it’s worth.

Enjoy the fee increase that takes effect next winter!



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