A package of House bills designed to address issues related to the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project received Judiciary Committee approval on Tuesday.
The committee voted unanimously on each bill to move it to the House floor. The bills were crafted after Santee Cooper and SCE&G decided in July to cease construction on the V.C. Summer nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.
State Rep. Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, sponsored all six bills and said he continues to research contracts between the utilities involved that are related to the project.
“The more we learned about the co-ops-Central (Electric Coop)-Santee (Cooper) relationship the more concerned I got,” he told the committee. “The more I read about the relationships and read the contracts that were implemented, again, after I had emailed information that everybody on the inside knew this project was off the rails. The contracts that were entered into and the addendums that were done to the contract after the fact… I think there is a major, major major issue there.”
McCoy said that prompted he and other members of the House to act to prevent consumers from having to pay any more for the failed project.
“How can people go in front of a board, number one, under oath, ask for more money knowing the project is doomed, already knowing that it’s in the toilet, and, number two, how can these people continue to charge the rates that they have charged?” He asked rhetorically. “What I’ve learned is the folks that were on the inside, they have the benefit and they’re the ones who were getting paid million-dollar bonuses and salaries while ratepayers, whether you’re co-op, whether you’re SCANA, are left holding the bag?”
“I read information last week in a contract that makes my skin crawl,” he said. “I think there’s still more work to be done.”
Although the proposed bills were quickly accepted by the committee, State Rep. Gary Clary, R-Clemson, said the going won’t be so easy once they reach the House.
“These bills are going to be advanced out. But this is a microcosm of what is going to happen on the House floor come January 9th, 10th, 11th and thereafter,” he said.
Click here to read the bills given favorable reports Tuesday.
One of the bills that received lengthy discussion is one that establishes a consumer advocate who would have subpoena power. Legislators discussed if the consumer advocate should be assigned to the state Attorney General’s office.