South Carolina cooperatives sue Santee Cooper over Summer nuke charge
- Central Electric Power Cooperative (CEPC) is suing state-owned utility Santee Cooper to block it from charging more for its share of the $9 billion in costs related to the failed V.C. Summer nuclear expansion.
- CEPC represents 20 cooperatives in the state. The group purchases power from Santee Cooper and then distributes it to members.
- CEPC is also suing for 70% of the funds Santee Cooper received in a settlement with Westinghouse, the bankrupt nuclear engineering firm responsible for the design and construction of the nuclear expansion project.
The latest development in the Summer nuclear debacle has shown how it has frayed relationships and alliances within the state. Santee Cooper has also been the subject of merger speculation in the wake of the VC Summer failure, as has its partner SCANA Corp, which owns the majority stake.
Santee Cooper is the minority owner in the nuclear expansion project, owning 45% of the project, Santee Cooper has about $8 billion in debt, with $4 billion stemming from the failed nuclear project. When SCANA decided last year to abandon construction, it had already spent $9 billion in ratepayer funds into the project. The failure prompted Gov. Henry McMaster saying that all or part of the public utility would be up for sale last year.
Dominion made a $14.6 billion offer for SCANA, but questions over whether the utility can recover its losses have put that deal in jeopardy. Likewise, NextEra Energy is thought to be preparing a bid for Santee Cooper, and it is unclear how this lawsuit would effect the deal.
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