South Carolina lawmakers are taking a closer look at the state’s public utilities after the collapse of a plan to build two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.
On Tuesday, the Senate president pro tempore named a special committee that will review utility issues, including the announcement by Santee Cooper and SCE&G to walk away from the multi-billion dollar construction project.
Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, named 12 senators to the committee, charging them with “broad authority to review all aspects of this project and the chain of decisions” made by both utilities, according to a letter from Leatherman to the senators leading the review committee.
Senators will also look at the role of government regulators at the Public Service Commission and Office of Regulatory Staff.
“The decision to abandon the project leaves South Carolinians strapped with paying for new facilities that will never provide electricity to their homes or businesses,” Leatherman said.
“Since SCE&G and Santee Cooper generate the household electricity consumed by a majority of South Carolinians, the negative impact of this failed project will touch nearly every home in our state, particularly those in Fairfield County.”
Leatherman said the committee’s focus will be on protecting rate payers from “further injury,” as well as preventing similar circumstances in the future.
The committee’s findings will help develop a “new energy policy” for South Carolina, he said.
Sens. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, and Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, will co-chair the committee. Massey and Setzler are the leaders of the Senate Republican and Democratic caucuses.
Also on the committee are Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee; Sean Bennett, R-Dorchester; Paul Campbell, R-Berkeley; Mike Fanning, D-Fairfield; Stephen Goldfinch, R-Georgetown; Greg Gregory, R-Lancaster; Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg; Luke Rankin, R-Horry; Ronnie Sabb, D-Williamsburg; and John Scott, D-Richland.