In re Blue Granite Water Co.

Full title: In re Application of Blue Granite Water Company for Approval to Adjust…

Court: Supreme Court of South Carolina

Appellate Case No. 2020-001283 Opinion No. 28055

Date published: Sep 1, 2021

Fact:

Blue Granite Water Co. (formerly known as Carolina Water Service) filed an application for a rate increase with the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) in October 2019. The requested rate increase was nearly $12 million per year, which was approximately a 50% increase from its existing annual rate revenues of almost $24 million.

ISSUE:

Conclusion:

we affirm the PSC’s decision in part and reverse in part. Specifically, we affirm the PSC’s decisions as to the ROE, storm costs, Greenville office upfit expenses, and stay of an appellate bond. We reverse the PSC’s decision to deny all rental expenses for Blue Granite’s new headquarters and remand to the agency for further consideration of what a reasonable rental allowance should be.

While Blue Granite also initially raised a question as to the PSC’s treatment of the allowance for non-revenue water, the utility conceded the issue at oral argument. We therefore affirm the PSC’s decision as to Blue Granite’s non-revenue water allowance.

Blue Granite challenges three additional issues that were not contested by either respondent before the PSC or on appeal: whether the PSC erred in (1) amortizing its annual water and wastewater service expenses that it purchased in the test year from third parties; (2) disallowing recovery of legal expenses incurred in prior cases filed and then later voluntarily withdrawn by Blue Granite; and (3) disallowing recovery of legal expenses related to administrative law court proceedings dealing with Blue Granite’s I-20 system. The PSC’s order does not contain sufficient findings of fact or analysis to allow us to evaluate the merits of these issues on appeal. As a result, we reverse and remand these issues as well.

AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.

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