State officials complete review of SC’s public and private power grids

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – After a winter storm caused extended power outages in Texas in early 2021, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster requested a review of the state’s power grids.

The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) says that review has been completed. They released a more than 100-page report along with outside consultants from Guidehouse.

According to ORS, they received responses from more than 60 utility providers in South Carolina. They say their review shows South Carolina’s energy system and utility providers are adequately prepared to prevent and respond to outages caused by ice storms and other winter weather events.

“We greatly appreciate the participating utilities’ cooperation to help us determine the resiliency of our state’s energy infrastructure in the event of extreme winter weather,” said Nanette Edwards, ORS Executive Director.

“South Carolina has a diversity of generation sources necessary to meet high winter demands, and our state’s utility providers are prepared to adequately respond to winter weather events.”

Edwards pointed out that South Carolina’s power systems are set up differently compared to Texas.

ORS says more than half of the electricity produced in Texas is fueled by natural gas. Whereas, about 30% of electricity production in South Carolina is fueled by natural gas.

The report also has 10 recommendations for utility providers.

Edwards said some of those recommendations include strengthening procedures for winter weather preparedness and more collaboration on winter weather drills with emergency management officials.

ORS officials said the review was limited to threats and conditions similar to those faced by the Texas power grid and did not evaluate the impacts of other threats such as hurricanes, cyber threats, extreme heat, flooding, or other threats attributed to climate change.

Officials said insufficient information was provided to conduct a full resiliency assessment for the small natural gas utilities in the state.

According to Edwards, ORS was budgeted $500,000 for the review.

To read the full review click or tap here.

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