At a South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing on Friday, Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell testified that the company’s offer to give South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) electric customers an average $1,000 rebate if Dominion buys the company is a big deal.
“I wouldn’t call it a shiny object,” he said, in response to criticism that customers would ultimately pay the money back in future rates to cover SCE&G’s nuclear debt. “I believe it was a very significant amount of money.”
Dominion recently proposed dropping the rebates in favor of a $20 per-month permanent cut to the average ratepayer’s bill.
Farrell said he believes the offer is very generous from a company that had absolutely no role in the failure of the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project last year.
“(It’s) bringing relief to the customers who are not their customers,” he told commission members.
The PSC will eventually determine if the Virginia-based Dominion Energy can acquire SCE&G’s parent company SCANA and how much, if anything, it can charge customers for the VC Summer’ project’s debt.
South Carolina legislators this summer blocked SCE&G from collecting any nuclear-related rate increases beyond 2010 levels until the commission decides on permanent rates. The Office of Regulatory Staff is asking the PSC to keep those lower rates in place after December, arguing SCE&G did not disclose problems at the nuclear construction project while seeking the higher rates. SCE&G insisted it never misled regulators about the project’s schedule.
SCANA and state-owned utility Santee Cooper decided in late July 2017 that it was finically impossible to complete the nuclear expansion project at the VC Summer plant in Fairfield County, so they abandoned it.
Since that time blame has been thrown around as to why it failed and if electric customers of both companies should continue to pay for the debt incurred during construction.