SCE&G power customers could see their electricity bills slashed by about 18 percent under a proposal unveiled Monday by S.C. House members.
The proposal, approved unanimously by a special, 18-member House committee, would block the Cayce-based utility from charging its customers any further for the financing or construction of two new nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.
That nine-year construction effort project was abandoned July 31, but only after SCE&G had charged its customers $1.7 billion in higher electricity rates to help pay for it.
SCE&G now collects about $37 million a month from its customers for the unfinished V.C. Summer nuclear station reactors. That accounts for about 18 percent of the average residential customers’ electric bill – or $27 per month.
The company has presented plans to charge its customers an additional $2.2 billion to pay down the project’s remaining debt. Those charges also would be blocked under the House plan.
“All we’re doing is aligning a business decision … with those that should be responsible,” said state Rep. James Smith, D-Richland.
House members unveiled the proposal Monday while kicking off two days of discussion on solutions for South Carolina’s nuclear crisis. The hearing was the House’s fifth into the project’s demise, but the first held to sort through possible fixes.
Legislators say their focus is on helping the 700,000 SCANA customers who have been hit with nine electricity rate hikes to bankroll the project.
“This is just the beginning,” said state Rep. Peter McCoy, the Charleston Republican who chairs the special House committee.