SCE&G announces rate cut, gas-fired plant purchase after V.C. Summer debacle

CAYCE, SC (WIS) - New SCE&G President Keller Kissam apologized to customers, lawmakers, and employees for the "crushing" failure of the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County, but announced initiatives that he believes are solutions that will appease customers to the tune of $4.8 billion.

Kissam said beginning immediately, SCE&G customers will have an immediate rate cut of 3.5 percent, reducing rates by $90 million. A customer using 1,000-kilowatt hours would see a savings of more than $5 per month. In addition, SCANA shareholders will absorb the net costs of the aborted plant's construction for the next 50 years.

"We've heard our customers' frustrations about paying for a power plant and having nothing to show for it," Kissam said. "This proposal gives customers additional power generation while also lowering rates for customers."

Kissam also announced the purchase of a 540-megawatt natural-gas-fired power plant in Calhoun County that will replace 40 percent of the projected power that could have come from V.C. Summer. An additional 100-megawatt large-scale solar energy has also been added to SCE&G's system.

The proposals mentioned by Kissam have to be approved by regulators before any of the initiatives go into effect.

He did say when asked that SCE&G won't rule out nuclear energy in the future, but looks forward to what can and will happen with solar energy.

"You've got to be flexible," Kissam said.

The approximate benefit to customers totals $4.84 billion, per SCE&G, are:

  • $2.9 billion reduced shareholder earnings in the next 50 years as the absorb nuclear construction costs
  • $810 million company write-off (includes @210 million impairment charge from third quarter of 2017)
  • $680 million additional generation (includes purchase price of $180 million & foregoing of shareholder return over the life of the plant)
  • $450 million with five-year benefit of immediate 3.5 percent reduction to customer rates

South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas said in a statement that SCANA showed Thursday that it cares more about its profits than customers.

Today's proposal provides further proof that SCANA has consistently prioritized the company's profits over protecting its consumers. Ratepayers have demanded a serious approach to the VC Summer nuclear facility collapse and the House has succeeded in meeting their demands.

Sen. Mike Fanning (D-District 17) called the rate increase "too little, too late" in a Facebook post. He said:

"A $5 decrease in your Bill? A little too little, a little too late!" Today, 3 & 1/2 months after Abandoning $9.5 billion in investment in two 2/3-complete Nuclear Reactors, SCANA announced their proposed "Solution" to the biggest Fiasco in State History! A Fiasco created in large part by their complete & total mismanagement of our state's nuclear project... & billions of dollars taken from SC Raye-payers!

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