South Carolina utility regulators say SCE&G has submitted documents on an ill-fated nuclear project, at the final moments before a deadline set by the state Public Service Commission.
Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) spokesman Ron Aiken said the company provided its internal communications to the state agency at 5 p.m. Friday, the deadline set by the commission after it refused to reconsider the order last week. The documents were the same ones provided to state and federal investigators looking into the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion’s failure and could show what SCE&G officials knew as the project became increasingly expensive and unlikely to finish anywhere close to budget.
The Public Service Commission ruled ORS officials have a right to the same documents as the agency determines whether SCE&G and its parent company SCANA acted “prudently” on the project. ORS represents ratepayers in issues before the commission.
“Basically the case of ‘What they knew and when they knew it,’ can only be really told through SCANA’s own internal documentation,” Aiken said. “We don’t have any of that.”
State-owned utility Santee Cooper — which is not regulated by the PSC — has already turned over its own documents at the order of Gov. Henry McMaster.
A PSC public hearing officer in June ordered SCE&G to turn over the documents it gave to the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, Security and Exchange Commission and the state Attorney General and State Law Enforcement Division by July 6. The full commission agreed last week. SCE&G has insisted the order violates state law since the documents do not deal directly with what the commission must decide.
The PSC is relying on ORS to present the case as it decides what SCE&G can charge its ratepayers — if anything — to repay the failed project’s estimated $9 billion debt. The commission would also need to sign off on SCANA’s proposed merger with Dominion Energy.
SCANA had ten days to ask for an appeal on last week’s order.