Legislators in South Carolina are calling for a special session to address the abandonment of the V.C. Summer nuclear project.
South Carolina Electric & Gas, one of the owners of the nuclear project, last week told the state’s Public Service Commission it would be seeking to recover as much as $5 billion in rates following the abandonment.
State senators have proposed a resolution that would bar the PSC from acting on any potential rate hike until the legislative session resumes in January.
Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R) and Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler (D) want the General Assembly to be reconvened to consider a joint resolution that would block either state-owned Santee Cooper or SCE&G from charging customers for the failed nuclear project until lawmakers can investigate what went wrong.
“There has got to be some responsibility taken for what’s occurred here,” Setzler told The State.
The senators asked Senate President Pro-Tempore Hugh Leatherman (R) and House Speaker Jay Lucas (R) Aug. 4 to call lawmakers back into session to pass the resolution before the PSC can take any further action regarding the Summer project.
“The impulsive legislative action contemplated by Senators Massey and Setzler could have unintended and negative consequences and lead to higher rates for consumers,” Lucas said in a statement.
Separately, the office of S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson plans to investigate the failed nuclear project, and Wilson has written a letter supporting Leatherman and Lucas and joining Massey and Setzler in asking for the General Assembly to reconvene.
Under South Carolina’s Base Load Review Act (BLRA), passed in 2007, SCE&G was allowed to charge customers for costs incurred to build the Summer project while it was in construction. SCE&G has raised rates nine times since 2007. The law also allows for recovery of costs, if the project is abandoned.
The BLRA was sponsored by a broad bipartisan coalition that included Setzler and was passed on a unanimous voice vote in the Senate and by 104-to-6 in the House. It was not signed by then Gov. Mark Sanford.