Rate-payers are tired of the back-and-forth; they want their money back from failed SCE&G expansion project

Rate-payers are tired of the back-and-forth; they want their money back from failed SCE&G expansion

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolinians have been paying for a failed nuclear expansion project called VC Summer, and low-energy giant SCE&G is going in front of the Public Service Commission to find out how to get that money back.

Today there was testimony from witnesses involved in monitoring the project expansion about where they think things went wrong.

Witness Gary Jones, an engineer with the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS), said, SCE&G intentionally hid issues with the project, so that they could push the VC Summer project forward.

Jones testified that SCE&G was “untruthful” and used deception as a means to keep the failing VC Summer construction going; racking up billions of dollars in unnecessary costs.

SCE&G attorneys didn’t take kindly to Jones’ testimony.

“He has claimed that SCE&G employees failed to describe to him the circumstances regarding the Bechtel engagement,” said Jon Chally, attorney for SCE&G. “And it is not true.”

Jones stuck to his guns today, saying that SCE&G didn’t let the ORS know the extent of scheduling issues, that he claims they were aware of from an assessment back in mid-March of 2015.

He later switched places on the stand with ORS Director of Energy Policy Anthony James, who presented a plan that he says will help save rate-payers some cash.

“Under ORS’s optimal plan, the average monthly bill for a residential customer will decrease by approximately $30.93,” James said. “That’s going from $147. 70 down to $116.77 in the first year.”

Ratepayers say, regardless of all the legal back and forth, lowered rates sound like progress but they still want the money back that they’ve already paid, and they’re ready for this lengthy process to be over.

“I can’t imagine how it would be enough just to cut the rates,” said ratepayer Dale Bear. “They’re talking about paying for this thing for 30 years or 40 years, or 50 years. I’ll be dead by then! No, I want my money back.”

James will be back on the stand tomorrow morning at 9 for more questioning.

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