The House Utility Rate Payer Committee held its fifth meeting Monday as it continues to investigate the abandonment of the V.C. Summer nuclear project and explore ways to prevent similar issues in the future.
The committee unanimously voted to create legislation that would amend the Base Load Review Act.
Lawmakers ultimately agreed to cut away any costs associated with the two nuclear reactors from ratepayers’ energy bills.
Currently, customers pay an average of 18 percent of their energy bills for the nuclear reactors thanks to the Base Load Review Act which allows the utility companies to increase rates.
The committee of legislators voted to draft a bill that would repeal that rate, protect ratepayers from paying any of the debt related to the failed project and set an interim rate for ratepayers.
Rep. Russell Ott said they are not sure if money can be paid back to the ratepayers for the failed projects but the priority now is to ensure ratepayers stop paying money towards the project.
“We allowed this company to basically charge in the front end, and it made sense at the time. It was pitched as a way to save customers money but that was under the premise that they would have something to show for their money at the end of the entire process,” Ott explained. “We would have two nuclear facilities that would be generating electricity in the state of South Carolina. Well, it’s become painfully clear that we’re not going to have those two facilities now and we don’t think that customers should have to continue paying for the failed projects.”
In a related development, South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas on Monday called for SCANA’s CEO to resign after the nuclear reactor project at VC Summer failed.
He released the following statement Monday:
SCANA’s mismanagement of the VC Summer nuclear facility has proven that the company cannot be trusted to promote or protect its consumers’ interests. On behalf of the South Carolina ratepayer, I believe SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh should resign immediately. This measure should have occurred long before now and without pressure from elected officials. Throughout the House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee’s study, it has become increasing clear that neither South Carolina ratepayers nor the South Carolina House of Representatives can have faith in SCANA under Marsh’s leadership.
The committee will continue its discussion on regulatory agencies and possible reform when it meets again at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.