Lawmakers Frustrated With SCE&G During V.C. Summer Hearing

New numbers tonight show Fairfield county's unemployment rate shot up to nearly 9 percent last month...following the massive construction layoffs at V-C Summer. The news came out as house members questioned SCE&G's leadership for a second time on how t

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Friday, SCE&G's leadership faced members of the house for the second round of questioning about the failed VC Summer reactors project.

House members were looking for the utility company to take some sort of responsibility for the abrupt end to the construction earlier this summer, but the lawmakers felt like they didn't get the response they were looking for. 

Back at the end of July, SCE&G and Santee Cooper announced they were abandoning the multi-year, multi-billion dollar project to build two new nuclear reactors at VC Summer, the nuclear power station in Fairfield County. That decision led to 5,600 people losing their jobs, and outrage from lawmakers, who are demanding answers to how the project could have failed after billions of dollars in rate hikes for customers over the years. 

Friday's hearing lasted more than seven hours, and during that time, SCANA (SCE&G's parent company) maintained that it was Westinghouse's fault that the project ultimately fell apart. (Westinghouse was the chief contractor in charge of building the reactors).

SCE&G's position only lead to more frustration among the House members. 

"If you all sit here and say that nothing was wrong or that this project was going along just fine and we wish we could continue building it but we're here looking at the numbering saying I don't know that we can trust y'all to keep building it," said Democrat Todd Rutherford.

Most of the meeting focused on the Bechtel Report done back in 2016 that said major changes needed to happen or else the project would die. Bechtel, an independent firm, had been commissioned to perform an analysis of the construction project, and ultimately concluded that there was mismanagement and that the project was behind schedule. 

House attorney Scott Elliott, said Friday the report was "designed to never see the light of day." He says South Carolina Electric & Gas should have disclosed its existence and critical findings as it repeatedly sought approval from state regulators to spend more.

But SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh, told legislators the report was confidential because it was intended to be used in potential lawsuits.

House members were baffled to hear no one was fired in response to this report and that SCE&G leadership continued getting their bonuses. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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