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Bill Number: 2639 Ratification Number: 222 Act Number 156 Introducing Body: House Subject: Powers of the Public Service Authority
(A156, R222, H2639)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 58-31-30, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO POWERS OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE AUTHORITY, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR ADDITIONAL POWERS; AND TO AMEND SECTION 58-31-80, RELATING TO PURPOSES AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE AUTHORITY, SO AS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL PURPOSES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Powers of the Public Service Authority
SECTION 1. Section 58-31-30 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding after item (21):
"(22) To acquire or purchase, if requested to do so, or to construct, operate, and maintain all structures and facilities, necessary, useful, or customarily used and employed in the treatment and distribution of water for industrial, commercial, domestic, or agricultural purposes within the counties of Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Dorchester, and Orangeburg. The provisions of this section do not apply to the acquisition or purchase of existing electric systems.
(23) To acquire, treat, transmit, distribute, and sell water at wholesale within the counties of Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Dorchester, and Orangeburg, if requested in writing to do so by the governing body of any incorporated municipality, by the governing body of any special purpose district providing water service in the unincorporated areas of each county, or by the governing body of each county for those unincorporated areas not so provided water service by a special purpose district. The authority may not transfer water from one river basin to another. However, the authority shall prepare and maintain its books and records for its water supply operations separate and apart from its books and records for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power. The costs of water supply operations, including the loss of the generation of hydroelectric power, may not affect rates and charges for electric service. Water must be offered for sale by the authority on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to whether electricity is also purchased from the authority."
Additional powers of the Authority
SECTION 2. The first paragraph of Section 58-31-30 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"The Public Service Authority has power to develop the Cooper River, the Santee River, and the Congaree River in this State, as instrumentalities of intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce and navigation; to produce, distribute, and sell electric power; to acquire, treat, distribute, and sell water at wholesale; to reclaim and drain swampy and flooded lands; and to reforest the watersheds of rivers in this State; and also has all powers which may be necessary or convenient for the exercise of these powers, including without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the following powers:".
Purposes and obligations of the Authority
SECTION 3. Section 58-31-80 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 58-31-80. The Public Service Authority is created primarily for the purpose of developing the Cooper River, the Santee River, the Congaree River, and their tributaries upstream to the confluence of the Broad and Saluda Rivers and upstream on the Wateree River to a point at or near Camden and other similar projects as instrumentalities of intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce and navigation; of reclaiming wastelands by the elimination or control of flood waters, reforesting the watersheds of the rivers and improving public health conditions in those areas. It is found that the project authorized by this chapter is for the aid of intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce and navigation, and that the aid and improvement of intrastate, interstate, and foreign commerce and navigation, the development, sale, and distribution of hydroelectric power, and the treatment, sale, and distribution of water at wholesale are in all respects for the benefit of all the people of the State, for the improvement of their health and welfare and material prosperity, and are public purposes, and being a corporation owned completely by the people of the State, the Public Service Authority is required to pay no taxes or assessments upon any of the property acquired by it for this project or upon its activities in the operation and maintenance of the project, except as provided in this section. The securities and other obligations issued by the Public Service Authority, their transfer and the income from them at all times are free from taxation. However, unless otherwise provided in any contract with an agency of the United States Government as assists in financing the projects contemplated in this section or any other agency from which the funds may be secured, all electrical energy developed by the authority must be sold at rates in the determination of which the taxes which the project would pay if privately owned, to the extent provided in this section, as well as other rate-making factors properly entering into the manufacture and distribution of the energy must be considered. After payment of necessary operating expenses and all annual debt requirements on bonds, notes, or other obligations at any time outstanding and the discharge of all annual obligations arising under finance agreements with the United States or any agency or corporation of the United States and indentures or other instruments under which bonds have been, or may be issued, the authority shall pay annually to the various counties of the State a sum of money equivalent to the amount paid for taxes on properties at the time of their acquisition by the authority, acquired, or to be acquired, in the counties, and the authority shall pay to all municipalities and school districts in the counties in which the authority has acquired, or may acquire properties, a sum of money equivalent to the amount paid for taxes to the school districts and municipalities on the properties at the time of their acquisition by the authority; and no other taxes may be considered in the fixing of the rates of the authority. From the funds to be paid under this section the counties, school districts, and municipalities annually shall apply a sum sufficient for the debt requirements for bonds and other obligations of the counties, school districts, and municipalities for which the properties were taxed at the time of their acquisition by the authority, with the remainder of the funds to be expended in accordance with law."
SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.