Columbia, SC (WLTX, AP) - South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas says he wants the head of the agency that regulates South Carolina's utilities to resign in the wake of the debacle that led to the end of the construction of two nuclear reactors at the VC Summer Nuclear Station.
Lucas said Wednesday he'd like to see Dukes Scott leave as the executive Director of the Office of Regulatory Staff. His call came hours after Scott testified before a House committee investigating why the multi-billion dollar construction project ended abruptly, leaving 5,600 without a job.
"Mr. Scott performed his duties to the best of his ability, but his testimony before the committee raised significant concerns over ORS’ management of the VC Summer nuclear project," Lucas said. "New leadership in my opinion is necessary to assure South Carolina ratepayers that the Office of Regulatory Staff holds their interests in the highest regard. I believe this is the first of many steps that must occur to prevent this type of catastrophe from happening again."
Gov. Henry McMaster is the only person who has the authority to remove Dukes, and McMaster told the Charleston Post and Courier that Scott's resignation would be "unwarranted." He said Scott is important in the ongoing efforts to either restart the failed project or help ratepayers get their money back.
In the hearing, lawmakers discussed the Base Load Review Act, a bill that allowed SCE&G to collect money for the project before the reactors were even build. Many lawmakers have questioned the wisdom of that decision in the wake of the failure at VC Summer.
In testimony a day earlier, SCE&G and Santee Cooper blames problems with Westinghouse, the company contracted to build the reactors, for causing the project to run over budget and over schedule, which eventually led to its demise.