COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Utility companies were warned more than a year ago that a South Carolina nuclear reactor project was doomed, yet failed to heed warnings that could have saved the venture.

That's according to a report by a major project management company obtained Sunday by The Associated Press.

Bechtel warned Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. in March 2016 they needed to make numerous changes to the way they handled the V.C. Summer project, including hiring someone to enforce contractor accountability.

The utilities in 2014 hired Bechtel to do an independent analysis of the project, which was several years behind schedule. They abandoned construction in July after jointly spending nearly $10 billion.

Utility customers have paid more than $2 billion on the failed project through rate hikes since 2009.