Santee Cooper Won't Raise Customer Rates Over Failed VC Summer Project

The increases had been proposed to help pay for a failed project to build two reactors.

Moncks Corner, SC (WLTX)  - Santee Cooper has withdrawn a proposal to raise customer rates in the wake of the failure to build two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

The board of the state-owned utility voted unanimously not to continue the rate increases, which would have gone into effect in 2018 and 2019. 

the vote cancels all steps in the rate process, including rate comment meetings scheduled for next week in the utility’s retail customer service territory and an October Board public hearing on the rate proposal, as well as a scheduled December Board vote on the increases.

“Conditions have changed materially since the rate process began in March,” said Leighton Lord III, Chairman of the Santee Cooper Board of Directors. “Our recent Board votes to suspend the nuclear project and also to accept a negotiated settlement with Toshiba, Westinghouse’s parent company, allow us to now cancel this rate process. The Board will continue to make decisions based on what is necessary to protect the financial integrity of Santee Cooper.”

Santee Cooper provides power to millions of South Carolina residents, either directly or through selling some of its energy to the state's electrical cooperatives, which service many rural areas. 

Back in June, Santee Cooper management proposed rate increases of 3.7 percent that would go into effect in Arpil of 2018 and 2019 to fund the building of two reactors at VC Summer.

But on July 31, though, Santee Cooper and SCE&G abandoned plans to build the two reactors, about eight years and $9 billion into the project. The decision cost 5,600 employees their jobs.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has proposed selling Santee Cooper or their 45 percent stake in that project as a way of restarting work on at least one of the reactors. Among the proposed buyers mentioned are Duke Energy, Southern Energy, or Dominion Energy.

However,  The Post and Courier of Charleston reported SCANA Corp. leader Kevin Marsh told some state lawmakers Thursday night in Charleston that South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. might not want to resume construction on two nuclear reactors even if a replacement was found.

 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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