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A poll of 1,078 South Carolina voters found strong support for increasing competition in the utility market, days ahead of the Senate approving a state study looking at altering how utilities buy energy.

Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC), a bipartisan nonprofit focused on the environment, commissioned Public Policy Polling of Raleigh for the Sept. 10-11 survey. 

The poll found 63 percent of voters support energy market reform, 69 percent favor utilities buying energy in a more competitive market and 80 percent supported strong oversight for utilities. 

The poll comes on the heels of a recent report finding huge energy savings for Southeast customers and likely decreased power plant emissions should utilities in South Carolina and neighboring states create a regional transmission organization, or RTO. Under an RTO, utilities would have to buy the power they need on a market open to utilities and private power generators. This would favor cheaper, renewable energy sources, the report said. 

The S.C. Senate gave final reading Thursday on House Bill 4940, which seeks to create an energy market reform study committee. 

The poll also found 66 percent of voters polled support adding more clean energy and energy storage to the electric system, 66 percent agreed that clean energy growth will help the South Carolina economy and 74 percent said that it is important to prioritize and grow clean energy.