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South Carolina Legislature’s top concern – costs of failed nuclear power projects

Failed nuclear project expected to dominate upcoming S.C. legislative session, By Andy Shain and Seanna Adcox,, Jan 6, 2018 

      COLUMBIA — The main question as the South Carolina General Assembly convenes Tuesday is how many other issues will lawmakers tackle outside of fixes for the Fairfield County nuclear plant debacle.

The $9 billion fiasco is expected to dominate the 2018 session with legislators considering everything from cutting off customer payments for the unfinished reactors to selling state-owned power provider Santee Cooper…

Nuclear fallout: A pair of South Carolina utilities created a crisis last summer when they abandoned the massive project to build two nuclear power reactors. Aborting the project cost more than 6,000 workers their jobs and left nearly 2 million electric customers on the hook for paying for the partially built reactors.

The House and Senate swiftly created special panels that drew up proposals to force utilities to pay back customers and revamp state regulators. The House went as far as to have committees meet before the General Assembly convened so the bills would be on the floor ready for a vote. (That is expected the second week of the session. Last year’s budget vetoes go first.)

The legislation, if passed, could bankrupt SCANA Corp., an investor-owned utility that was the project’s majority partner, or kill a deal for Virginia’s Dominion Energy to buy SCANA, according to the utilities. Lawmakers insist their top priority is protecting customers from paying for reactors that will never produce any electricity after SCANA deceived the public about the work delays and cost overruns.

Meanwhile, Gov. Henry McMaster is talking with suitors about buying state-owned power provider Santee Cooper, the other partner in the reactors. But lawmakers are skeptical about selling the utility created during the New Deal, fearing a new owner would cut staff and raise electric rates. Solar proponents are expected to use the nuclear fallout to push alternative energy tax credits………

January 8, 2018 - Posted by | politics, USA

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