SCE&G Rates Won't Go Down Despite Halt in Nuclear Construction

Electric rates for SCEG customers wre the main topic of conversation for senators during VC Summer hearing today

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Electric rates for SCE&G customers was were the topic of discussion for senators during a V.C. Summer Nuclear Project hearing on Monday.

"Is there any scenario that you see the rate for the average rate payer going down?" asks Senator Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg.

Senator Hutto joined nine other senators for the six-hour long meeting in questioning the executives at SCANA, the parent company for SCE&G, and Santee Cooper.

SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh says when it comes to rates, construction carrying cost will go down, but they may be outweighed by other costs.

"At the same time that cost is going down, we're spending $500 million a year on improvements and additions to the system that aren't nuclear related to keep the system in operating condition and continue to provide the service we do today," says Marsh.

Former Santee Cooper CEO Lonnie Carter says he didn't trust Westinghouse in the end.
 
"I gave up on them in 2014," says Carter. "I would tell our team that these guys would tell us stuff, but we couldn't rely on it, because we could only believe what was physically presented."

Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy earlier in the year, but senators wanted to know when both companies saw red flags.

"You kept having problems, you kept getting notified of delays," says Sen. Shane Massey, R-Senate Majority Leader. "The delays kept getting longer. Why would you not move to terminate that contract?"

"We continue to need the power and we continued to need the plant be built. So our desire was to complete the construction. It wasn't to terminate," says SCANA Vice President Stephen Byrne.

"We believe they could be built and identified issues," says Marsh. "I don't think anyone on our project team didn't say, these projects can't be built."

Senators plans to come back to discuss resuming construction in during their next meeting on October 11th.
 

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