PSC is ex­pected to de­cide SCE&G’s fate next week

The Island Packet - - Local - BY AVERY G. WILKS aw­[email protected]­ Reach Wilks at 803-771-8362.

SCE&G’s fate is ex­pected to be de­cided next Fri­day, 16 months after the Cayce-based util­ity can­celed its $9 bil­lion nu­clear plant con­struc­tion project, kick­ing off a le­gal and po­lit­i­cal firestorm that has raged ever since.

The S.C. Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion has sched­uled a 1 p.m. Dec. 14 meet­ing to set SCE&G’s elec­tric rates mov­ing for­ward and de­cide whether to ap­prove Vir­ginia-based Do­min­ion En­ergy’s of­fer to buy SCE&G’s par­ent com­pany, SCANA.

At stake is how much SCE&G’s cus­tomers will con­tinue to pay in the form of higher power bills for two un­fin­ished nu­clear re­ac­tors that never will pro­duce a watt of elec­tric­ity. The util­ity’s 730,000 cus­tomers al­ready have paid more than $2 bil­lion — about $27 a month on their bills — after the PSC OK’d nine rate hikes over the past decade to fi­nance the V.C. Sum­mer Nu­clear Sta­tion ex­pan­sion project in Fair­field County.

The PSC held four weeks of hear­ings into the failed project and SCE&G’s rates last month.

The PSC is ex­pected to ap­prove Do­min­ion’s of­fer to buy out SCANA and cut SCE&G’s power bills by up to $22 a month for the av­er­age res­i­den­tial cus­tomer.

Wall Street ex­pects the Do­min­ion-SCANA deal to be ap­proved. SCANA’s stock, which plum­meted after the V.C. Sum­mer project col­lapsed, has ral­lied over the last three months, adding roughly $12 a share since late Septem­ber.

Do­min­ion’s of­fer also re­cently has picked up en­dorse­ments from S.C. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Alan Wil­son, R-Lex­ing­ton, and pow­er­ful S.C. House Speaker Jay Lu­cas, RDar­ling­ton. The two are among 19 par­ties to the PSC case.

At­tor­neys for ratepay­ers su­ing SCANA over the nu­clear project also have agreed to set­tle their law­suits, so long as the Do­min­ion deal be­comes fi­nal.

SEAN RAYFORD on­[email protected]­

Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion chair­man Comer Ran­dall lis­tens Nov. 1 dur­ing the PSC trial into SCE&G’s rates fol­low­ing the V.C. Sum­mer nu­clear de­ba­cle in Columbia.

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