Cindi Ross Scoppe

SC nuclear debacle, by the numbers

If you’re looking for the most comprehensive list of numbers concerning the decision by SCE&G and Santee Cooper to abandon construction of two reactors at the VC Summer nuclear site, you’re in luck. This is it.

Early on, I started compiling a list with numbers and other bits of information about the project, so I wouldn’t have to keep looking them up. And I decided to share the information, and update it periodically with additional information. Sorry it’s been so long since my last update.

The project

$11 billion: Original projected cost of the two reactors

$20 billion: Minimum projected cost, due to delays and cost overruns, when SCE&G and Santee Cooper abandoned the project

$9 billion: What SCE&G and Santee Cooper spent on the project before abandoning it

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Cindi Ross Scoppe

LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION

$260 million: Amount SCE&G customers will save under Legislature’s temporary rate cut for the remainder of this year

$27: Average monthly nuclear surcharge for SCE&G customers

$5: Average monthly nuclear surcharge under Legislature’s temporary rate cut for the remainder of this year

$87.5 million: SCANA’s first-quarter 2018 shareholder dividend

$17.5 million: SCANA’s second-quarter 2018 shareholder dividend, announced after legislative action

$280 million: Annualized savings for second-quarter dividend cut

DOMINION ENERGY

$14.6 billion: Proposed purchase price for SCANA Corp

$1.3 billion: Refunds Dominion says it will pay to SCE&G customers if its purchase goes through

$1,000: Average refund per residential customer; this equates to about 2/3 of what customers have paid for the nuclear project.

$7 (5 percent): Amount Dominion says it will initially reduce the average SCE&G customer’s monthly bills

20 years: Length of time Dominion says it would continue to charge customers a nuclear surcharge, reducing the monthly charge each year; SCE&G had proposed to keep charging for the construction project for 60 years

$8 billion: Amount Dominion says it will save customers over SCANA’s plan

$3.3 billion: Amount Dominion says it wants to collect from customers

$1.9 billion: My estimate of total Dominion would collect as a profit on the $3.3 billion (Dominion says it hasn’t calculated the amount, but it seeks to collect a 10.25% return on the $3.3 billion investment over 20 years, with other caveats that analysts say would cut that 10.25% by about half.)

0.669: Number of shares of Dominion Energy stock that stockholders would receive for each share of SCANA stock, or about $55.35 per share. (SCANA stock was selling for $38.87 a share when the purchase was announced, down from $73.25 a share a year earlier.)

Here’s another way of looking at Dominion’s rate proposal:

$19,440: Amount average residential customer would have paid for reactors ($27 per month for 60 years) under original SCE&G proposal

$13,200: Amount average residential customer would pay for reactors ($22 per month for 50 years) under SCE&G’s November proposal

$3,800: Amount average residential customer would pay for reactors ($20 per month, reducing annually for 20 years, minus $1,000 refund) under Dominion’s proposal.

SCE&G

$4.9 billion: Amount of borrowed and stockholder money SCE&G has invested and hopes to recoup

$2 billion: Tax credits SCE&G hopes to receive to offset $4.9 billion investment

$1 billion: Payment SCE&G received through contract with Westinghouse parent Toshiba to offset $4.9 billion investment

$2.2 billion: Amount SCE&G initially said it would seek to recoup from ratepayers (before profit) if it received the tax credits and Toshiba payment

$1.7 billion: Amount SCE&G customers paid in rate increases to bankroll the two new reactors as of July 31, 2017

$37 million: Amount SCE&G customers are still paying per month to bankroll the two new reactors

$30 million: Amount SCE&G customers will pay per month through the end of 2018 under law passed June 28

9: Rate hikes SCE&G passed on to its customers to pay for the now-abandoned reactors

18 percent: Portion of SCE&G bills that pay for the nuclear project

15 percent: Portion of SCE&G’s bills customers would pay for the project under SCANA’s proposal to reduce bills by 3.5 percent

3 percent; Portion of SCE&G’s bills customers will pay for the project through the end of 2018 under law passed June 28

$1.4 billion: Dividends SCANA paid to shareholders in the past four years

$87.5 million: SCANA’s first-quarter 2018 shareholder dividend

$17.5 million: SCANA’s second-quarter 2018 shareholder dividend, announced after legislative action

$21.4 million: Total in annual performance-based bonuses — some to reward good work on the nuclear project — that SCANA executives received over the past decade

$595 million: SCANA earnings for 2016

$119 million: SCANA losses for 2017

$908 million: Amount SCANA wrote off in 2017 because it concluded that it was“probable” that it wouldn’t be allowed to collect all the money it hopes to for the nuclear project

SANTEE COOPER

$4 billion: Amount borrowed by Santee Cooper, which will have to be repaid by someone

$831 million: Amount Santee Cooper received through contract with Westinghouse parent Toshiba to offset $4 billion investment

$540 million: Amount Santee Cooper customers have paid in rate increases to bankroll the two new reactors

5: Rate hikes, so far, that Santee Cooper has passed on to its customers to pay for the now-abandoned reactors

4.5 percent: Portion of Santee Cooper bills that pay for the nuclear project (down from 8 percent in 2017)

$800,000 a year: Amount Santee Cooper CEO Lonnie Carter will receive in pension and retirement pay, in addition to an additional six months’ salary and the $858,577 he has in another Santee Cooper retirement account similar to a 401(k) style plan

$70,650: Total amount of bonuses that six Santee Cooper executives were paid since 2011 for their work on the nuclear project

$19 million: Amount Santee Cooper expects to spend per year to preserve nuclear site and equipment

SC energy providers

Santee Cooper serves about 1 million customers, which it says translates into about 2 million people. It has 174,000 retail customers, 26 military and large industrial customers and four wholesale customers, which in turn provide power to more than 764,000 individual and business customers

Duke Energy has 733,000 customers

SCE&G has 698,000 customers

SC energy rates

SCE&G: 14.56 cents per kilowatt hour (this would be 11.93 cents without the nuclear surcharge)

Santee Cooper: 11.62 cents per kilowatt hour (this would be 11.10 cents without the nuclear surcharge)

Duke Energy: 11.01 cents per kilowatt hour

Duke Progress: 10.01 cents per kilowatt hour

(Virginia Electric and Power, owned by Dominion Energy: 11.19 cents per kilowatt hour)

* Rates are from 2016, the most recent year for which comparisons are avaiable.

How a project is abandoned

S.C. Code Section 58-33-220(G). If the utility decides to abandon the project after issuance of a prudency determination under this section, then the preconstruction costs related to that project may be deferred, with AFUDC* being calculated on the balance, and may be included in rates in the utility’s next general rate proceeding or revised rates proceeding, provided that as to the decision to abandon the plant, the utility shall bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the decision was prudent. Without in any way limiting the effect of Section 58-33-225(D), recovery of capital costs and the utility’s cost of capital associated with them may be disallowed only to the extent that the failure by the utility to anticipate or avoid the allegedly imprudent costs, or to minimize the magnitude of the costs, was imprudent considering the information available at the time that the utility could have acted to avoid or minimize the costs. Pending an order in the general rate proceeding or revised rates proceeding, the utility, at its discretion, may commence to amortize to cost of service the balance of the preconstruction costs related to the abandoned project over a period equal to the period during which the costs were incurred, or five years, whichever is greater.

* ‘AFUDC’ means the allowance for funds used during construction of a plant calculated according to regulatory accounting principles.

S.C. Code Section 58-33-280(K). Where a plant is abandoned after a base load review order approving rate recovery has been issued, the capital costs and AFUDC related to the plant shall nonetheless be recoverable under this article provided that the utility shall bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the decision to abandon construction of the plant was prudent. Without limiting the effect of Section 58-33-275(A), recovery of capital costs and the utility’s cost of capital associated with them may be disallowed only to the extent that the failure by the utility to anticipate or avoid the allegedly imprudent costs, or to minimize the magnitude of the costs, was imprudent considering the information available at the time that the utility could have acted to avoid or minimize the costs. The commission shall order the amortization and recovery through rates of the investment in the abandoned plant as part of an order adjusting rates under this article.

More information

Here are some other pieces I’ve written about this that you might find helpful:

SC nuclear debacle: a timeline

These are the people who brought us the SCE&G/Santee Cooper nuclear debacle

Here’s who voted to give SCE&G a blank check

Here’s what could happen if the Legislature doesn’t end the nuclear surcharge

It gets harder to slash SCE&G’s nuclear surcharge every day this bill doesn’t pass

6 days to go, and the SC Senate hasn’t even touched our worst VC Summer problems

We’re bankrolling SCANA dividends with our payments for abandoned nuclear reactors

Why Santee Cooper’s customers pay a way lower nuclear surcharge than SCE&G’s

Santee Cooper is out of control. But that’s not a reason to sell it

Could the fate of the nuclear surcharge come down to a 3.5 x 7 piece of paper?

Ratepayers sued the state, and the attorney general’s office is helping them

Did South Carolina’s own ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law make the nuclear fiasco worse?

3 numbers you need to know about SCE&G, Dominion and our energy future

You’re not going to stop paying nuclear surcharge, even if House bill becomes law

Legislators’ micromanagement limits fix to regulatory system behind nuclear debacle

Why legislators shouldn’t be allowed to accept donations, jobs from utilities

There are 3 ways to cut Santee Cooper customers’ bills; 2 of them are worth exploring

What else we learned from that SCE&G bankruptcy report

Three ways the Dominion-SCE&G deal could fall apart

How awful would it really be if SCE&G went bankrupt?

4 changes the Legislature needs to make after the $9 billion nuclear debacle

Is this the best deal SCE&G customers can get? Why finding out could cost us

Still want to run government like a business? That’s insane

Buying the benefit of the doubt: How donations secured SCE&G the means to squander billions.

How much worse was the original Bechtel nuclear report?

Where to hide nuclear secrets? Behind a lawyer, of course

Santee Cooper’s role in SC nuclear debacle looks worse by the day

How ‘waste not, want not’ became ‘spend more, profit more’

SCE&G nuclear fiasco: It’s complicated. Here are some explanations.

SCE&G law could cost you more than you imagine

Ms. Scoppe writes editorials and columns for The State. Reach her at cscoppe@thestate.com or (803) 771-8571 or follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook @CindiScoppe.

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