The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) was created with the enactment of Act 175 of 2004. The ORS is responsible for many of the non-adjudicative functions associated with utility regulation that formerly fell under the auspices of the S.C. Public Service Commission (PSC).
Prior to Act 175, the PSC handled all aspects of utility regulation. The creation of the ORS by Act 175 provides a revised structure for addressing the public interest that clearly separates the adjudicative function (which remains with the PSC) from the investigative, legal, prosecutorial, and educational roles necessary to utility regulation that are now within the purview of the ORS.
Specifically, the ORS has sole responsibility for the inspection, auditing, and examination of public utilities. The agency must be considered a party of record in all filings, applications, or proceedings before the PSC.
The ORS is charged with representing the public interest of South Carolina in utility regulation for the major utility industries -- electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water/wastewater, and transportation -- before the PSC, the court system, the S.C. General Assembly, and federal regulatory bodies. The ORS also has responsibility for oversight of railroad safety and natural gas pipeline safety in South Carolina, as well as responsibility for monitoring the construction schedule and budget of new nuclear development in South Carolina.
Act 175 defines public interest as a balance among three essential components: the concerns of the using and consuming public; the financial integrity of public utilities; and the economic development of South Carolina.
In addition, Act 175 created a State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee. This ten-member committee is composed of six members of the S.C. General Assembly and four representatives from the general public.
To carry out its mission, the ORS has amassed a highly talented team. The agency is organized as follows: Consumer Services; Electric, Natural Gas, Pipeline Safety, Railroad, and Economics; New Nuclear Development; Telecommunications; Transportation; Water/ Wastewater; Legal; Information Services; Auditing; and Administration.
We are here to serve our fellow South Carolinians and hope that you will feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.