Caucus leaders of both the South Carolina Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats are urging their chamber’s leader to convene in a special session after two utilities shut down construction of two new nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.
In a letter to the Senate President Pro Tempore, both State Sens. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, and Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, said they are concerned about the news that South Carolina Electric and Gas and state-owned utility Santee Cooper will charge customers for billions in sunk costs at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.
“We believe South Carolinians should have a chance to understand what has happened, and the General Assembly should have an opportunity to evaluate the facts, corporate responsibility and the state’s energy policy, before the utilities seek additional increases,” the letter states.
They want the Senate to meet in the special session to demand the utilities take no further action until the legislature’s regular session resumes in January. However, SCE&G’s spokesman has said the utility wants to request a formal abandonment this year so it can recover $2 billion in tax deductions to help write off its losses. That potential amount would decrease after January, he said.
Several dozen members of the state House have formed a bipartisan Energy Caucus that also is calling for a special session.
Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, has not immediately responded to the request. But House Speaker Jay Lucas said he would rather wait until lawmakers can determine a “proper course of action” that would be in the best interest of state taxpayers.
“The impulsive legislative action contemplated by Senators Massey and Setzler could have unintended and negative consequences and lead to higher rates for consumers,” Lucas said in his own brief statement.