Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina House is asking state police to investigate potential criminal activity by SCANA and SCE&G in the wake of the VC Summer project failure.
House Speaker Jay Lucas, along with Rep. Peter McCoy Jr., and Rep. Russell Ott, sent a letter to South Carolina Law Enforcement Chief Mark Keel on Monday. In it, they state," we believe it is necessary for SLED to examine the situation for potential criminality on the part of SCANA and its principal subsidiary, SCE&G."
They want the probe to begin immediately.
"If, as we suspect, criminal activity exists at the root of the V.C. Summer disaster, it is imperative that it be discovered as quickly as possible and that those responsible are held accountable for their actions," the letter said.
SCE&G responded with the following statement:
"SCE&G has received the letter from the House calling for SLED to investigate the V.C. Summer nuclear project. SCE&G has previously announced that it will cooperate with a federal investigation of the project. SCE&G also will cooperate with any state investigation by SLED or any other state law enforcement or regulatory agency."
The utility has been under scrutiny from state lawmakers in the wake of the decision by the utility to shut down a multi-year, multi-billion dollar project to build two new nuclear reactors at the VC Summer station in Fairfield County.
SCE&G was a partner with Santee Cooper on the project, with SCE&G holding a 55 percent stake and Santee Cooper having the remaining 45 percent. The decision to walk away from the investment cost 5,600 people their jobs.
Under a state law, SCE&G was allowed to raise rates to pay for the project before it was completed.
In recent weeks, a previously unreleased report has come to light that raised questions about the viability of the project long before it ultimately collapsed.
"During the course of SCANA's testimony before the committee and through the examination of thousands of pages of documents, it was become our belief that the proximate case of the V.C. Summer collapse is a direct result of misrepresentation by SCANA AND SCE&G," the House leaders wrote in their letter. "We also believe that criminal fraud through the concealment of material information is also a plausible cause for the project's disastrous collapse."
The House leaders said they plan to have no more contact with officials from SCANA or SCE&G, and say they're willing to turn over any documents they have, including video of all hearings, to assist SLED.
They also say they will continue to scrutinize Santee Cooper's role in the situation.