SCANA, the parent of South Carolina Electric & Gas could be on the hook for about $210 million in costs associated with its abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear project in South Carolina.
The utility assumes it will not be allowed to charge its customers the costs accrued since state regulators last reviewed the status of the nuclear about 18 months ago. SCANA reported earnings of $34 million in the third quarter, down from $189 million in third-quarter 2016, mostly as a result of the abandonment of the nuclear project.
SCANA's plan comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission served SCANA with a subpoena for documents as part of an investigation into the cancelled expansion of the Summer nuclear facility.
SCANA earlier this month said it will cooperate with SEC officials on their investigation into the cancelled Summer nuclear project.
SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas owns 55% of the project. State-owned Santee Cooper owns the remaining stake. In announcing its earnings, SCANA said it would not be able to provide long-term earnings guidance because of the pending treatment of the nuclear project.
The company estimates it has spent $1.2 billion on the Summer since state regulators last reviewed the project’s status. However, those costs could be mitigated by a financial settlement with Toshiba, the parent company of Westinghouse Electric, the contractor on the project. Westinghouse declared bankruptcy in May.
SCANA could receive as much as $1.1 billion from Toshiba. That money would be used to “mitigate the cost of the abandoned project to customers,” SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh said in a statement last month.
The company's decision to absorb some of the costs related to Summer also follows two other shareholder suits filed against the utility. Key to the SEC investigation is determining when company construction problems at the plant. Santee Cooper, as a state-owned utility, is not facing shareholder suits, but Gov. Henry McMaster (D) and other legislators have favored selling the company to cover some of the Summer expansion costs.