South Carolina’s power regulating agency will decide if South Carolina Electric & Gas can continue charging its customers for a failed nuclear project.
The Public Service Commission will hear a request at its Thursday meeting to stop SCE&G from continuing to charge the 18 percent of customers’ bills which specifically go towards the V.C. Summer nuclear project expansion. Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) director Dukes Scott filed the suspension request after the Attorney General’s Office questioned Tuesday whether a 2007 law allowing the bill increases was even constitutional.
“What we’re concerned about is if the commission is operating under a constitutionally suspect law and if the commission wants to continue the rates ‘as is’ with that Attorney General’s opinion outstanding?” he told South Carolina Radio Network.
SCE&G customers could see an 18 percent drop in their power bills (roughly $27 on average) if the commission entirely agrees. However, such a vote could be disastrous for SCE&G, which is using the money to pay back $3.7 billion financing debt from the project. But Scott cited the Attorney General’s opinion questioning whether the state could require customers to pay for a private utility’s project if those ratepayers never benefit from it.
An SCE&G spokesman said his company would “vigorously contest” the Office of Regulatory Staff’s request.