Fairfield County citizens feel “betrayed” by SCE&G and Santee Cooper after the South Carolina utilities announced Monday they were abandoning the construction of two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear station near Jenkinsville, according to a statement issued by two legislators and the County Council chairman.
“Terrible decisions followed by more terrible decisions have continued to be made by these companies and their leadership over the course of the past nine years,” said the statement from state Sen. Mike Fanning and state Rep. Mary Gail Douglas — both Democrats — and Council Chairman Billy Smith. Both Fanning and Douglas represent Fairfield County.
“Over the course of the last nine years, thousands of workers from Fairfield County and surrounding areas, now facing immediate unemployment, have toiled day-in and day-out to benefit these companies, while their South Carolina customers have paid more than $9 (billion) in rate increases, to set their investors up for no-risk gain.”
While the two utilities have spent about $9 billion so far on the plant, SCE&G has said its customers have been charged about $1.4 billion so far. SCANA, parent company of SCE&G, is publicly traded. Santee Cooper is a state-owned utility.
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“While SCANA, SCE&G and Santee Cooper are doing better than ever, S.C. consumers and Fairfield County citizens are being left with an empty bag,” according to the statement.
The construction project employed about 5,000 people.
SCE&G is scheduled to discuss the decision Tuesday with the state Public Service Commission, which oversees SCANA and other commercial utility companies in the state. Smith and the legislators called on the PSC to reject plans to abandon the project and to require that rates be set to pay for the reactors’ completion.
The three also want the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to include state funding for the project and the “energy self-sufficiency it represents” in next year’s budget.
“If necessary, the state should step in, finish the project, and sell the electricity.”