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The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff wants regulators to declare SCE&G lied about nuclear project

SC utility watchdog wants regulators to declare SCE&G lied about nuclear project, The State, BY TOM BARTON AND AVERY G. WILKS, DECEMBER 28, 2018, COLUMBIA, S.C. 

South Carolina’s utility watchdog has asked the S.C. Public Service Commission reconsider its decision not to rule that SCE&G intentionally misled regulators years ago about its doomed nuclear plant construction project.

The S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff filed a petition late Friday asking the PSC for an explicit finding that SCE&G imprudently moved ahead with construction of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion in March 2015 despite warnings about the project’s cost and flaws.

Earlier this month, the PSC issued a ruling allowing Virginia-based Dominion Energy to buy SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA, and slash SCE&G’s nuclear-bloated electric rates by about $22 a month. But after some internal debate, the PSC stopped short of calling out SCE&G for withholding important information to win rate-hike cases and keep the foundering project alive.

Regulatory Staff wrote Friday “it is beyond dispute that SCE&G failed to disclose any iteration of the Bechtel Report to ORS or the Commission.” The agency said the “Commission cannot side-step the issue of prudence or imprudence” but instead must “make a clear finding” that SCE&G could have acted to anticipate, avoid or minimize nuclear construction costs.

Regulatory Staff Director Nanette Edwards said such a finding is needed “to restore public trust and hold the utility accountable.”

A SCANA spokesman said the utility would need to review the petition and would not comment Friday night.

“The commission’s thoughtful, well-reasoned order speaks for itself,” Dominion Energy spokesman Ryan Frazier said.

Ratepayers have paid more than $2 billion in higher power bills for the unfinished reactors in Fairfield County. And SCE&G’s roughly 730,000 customers will pay another $2.3 billion for the failed project over the next 20 years under the approved Dominion deal.

Regulatory Staff also want the PSC to clarify that Dominion must track and pass down to customers all of its savings from the recent federal tax cuts. It also is pushing the PSC to lower slightly how much profit Dominion can earn while paying down the nuclear debt, and return close to $400 million previously collected from customers for costs that are now disallowed.

Regulatory Staff wrote that it wants the PSC to impose conditions requiring a review prior to any possible expansion by Dominion’s of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline into South Carolina.

……… The PSC has 20 days to grant or refuse Regulatory Staff’s request. https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article223663510.html

December 31, 2018 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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