Despite a report by a Columbia newspaper over the weekend, officials at power utility SCANA insist their CEO remains at the helm this week.
However, if one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers has his way, that will not be the case much longer.
South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas on Monday called for SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh to resign, becoming the highest-profile elected official to publicly call for Marsh’s removal since SCANA’s massive nuclear project was abandoned this summer.
“On behalf of the South Carolina ratepayer, I believe SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh should resign immediately,” Lucas said in a statement released by his office. “This measure should have occurred long before now and without pressure from elected officials. Throughout the House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee’s study, it has become increasing clear that neither South Carolina ratepayers nor the South Carolina House of Representatives can have faith in SCANA under Marsh’s leadership.”
The statement from Lucas came amid reports by The State newspaper that SCANA’s board ousted Marsh in a Saturday meeting. The company denied the reports and Marsh sent out an email to SCANA employees on Monday insisting the reports were not true.
“The board did not take any action over the weekend to remove me or any other members of management,’’ the email stated. “Neither I, nor any member of senior staff, have been terminated, nor have any of us resigned or retired.’’
Marsh and other SCANA executives have felt pressure from legislators, regulators and lawsuits ever since SCANA and its state-owned utility partner Santee Cooper decided to abandon further expansion work at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station on July 31. The decision came after the utilities spent more than $9 billion on the over-budget, years-behind-schedule project and faced billions more with the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.
Since then, internal audits reveal SCANA and Santee Cooper realized last year the project faced dire straits but still sought a rate increase from regulators without disclosing issues auditors raised about the site’s future viability.