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An honest accountant – had to leave SCANA nuclear project rather than tell lies

SC nuclear project’s top accountant says she quit ‘because I wasn’t going to lie’ Post and Courier, By Andrew Brown and Thad Moore, Jul 30, 2018

A top SCANA accountant says the company’s most powerful executives pressured her to lie and she was given altered information to share with state regulators about how much it would cost to finish the utility’s faltering nuclear project, according to a transcript of her sworn testimony.

If the estimates were lower, that could have made the project appear healthier than it was. Leaders at SCANA, which owns South Carolina Electric & Gas, have been accused of painting a rosy picture to regulators, customers and investors about the health of the $9 billion project before it failed a year ago.

Carlette Walker, who managed the nuclear project’s finances, testified under oath that she left her $565,000-a-year job in 2016, “Because I wasn’t going to lie.”

“And who do you feel was pressuring you to lie?” an attorney representing SCE&G customers asked.

Walker answered with the names of the power company’s top officials: Kevin Marsh, its CEO throughout the nuclear project’s final years; Steve Byrne, who had been its operations chief; and Jimmy Addison, the finance chief who was her boss and is now SCANA’s chief executive.

SCANA and attorneys representing Addison, Byrne and Marsh did not respond to requests for comment Monday. Marsh and Byrne resigned from the company last year after the project went bust and state lawmakers called for them to step down.

Walker was in SCANA’s inner circle and was repeatedly called to testify about its budget to South Carolina’s utility regulators and her work won her raises year after year as one of the project’s leaders.

Now, her legal testimony is central to a series of lawsuits and regulatory cases that will decide if SCE&G ratepayers should get a refund for the $2 billion they’ve already poured into the unfinished reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant. The work costs them $37 million a month, nearly a fifth of their electric bills. ………


August 3, 2018 - Posted by | Legal, USA

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