Politics & Government

SC regulators expected to set SCE&G’s power bills, rule on Dominion deal next week

Former SCANA executive “silenced” for pointing to issues with nuclear project

Charlotte Walker, the former vice president of nuclear finance administration for SCANA testified that executives tried to silence her concerns about the V.C. Summer nuclear project before it failed.
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Charlotte Walker, the former vice president of nuclear finance administration for SCANA testified that executives tried to silence her concerns about the V.C. Summer nuclear project before it failed.

SCE&G’s fate is expected to be decided next Friday, 16 months after the Cayce-based utility canceled its $9 billion nuclear plant construction project, kicking off a legal and political firestorm that has raged ever since.

The S.C. Public Service Commission has scheduled a 1 p.m. Dec. 14 meeting to set SCE&G’s electric rates moving forward and decide whether to approve Virginia-based Dominion Energy’s offer to buy SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA.

At stake is how much SCE&G’s customers will continue to pay in the form of higher power bills for two unfinished nuclear reactors that never will produce a watt of electricity. The utility’s 730,000 customers already have paid more than $2 billion — about $27 a month on their bills — after the PSC OK’d nine rate hikes over the past decade to finance the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion project in Fairfield County.

The PSC held four weeks of hearings into the failed project and SCE&G’s rates last month.

The PSC is expected to approve Dominion’s offer to buy out SCANA and cut SCE&G’s power bills by up to $22 a month for the average residential customer.

Wall Street expects the Dominion-SCANA deal to be approved. SCANA’s stock, which plummeted after the V.C. Summer project collapsed, has rallied over the last three months, adding roughly $12 a share since late September.

Dominion’s offer also recently has picked up endorsements from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, R-Lexington, and powerful S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington. The two are among 19 parties to the PSC case.

Attorneys for ratepayers suing SCANA over the nuclear project also have agreed to settle their lawsuits, so long as the Dominion deal becomes final.

Reach Wilks at 803-771-8362. Follow him on Twitter @AveryGWilks.

Avery G. Wilks is The State’s senior S.C. State House and politics reporter. He is currently filling in as an editor of The State’s award-winning State House team. He was named the 2018 S.C. Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association. He grew up in Chester, S.C., and graduated from the University of South Carolina’s top-ranked Honors College in 2015.


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