The Latest: Federal judge lets rate cut fight continue
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the abandonment of nuclear reactor projects in South Carolina (all times local):
A federal judge has refused to end a lawsuit over a temporary rate cut for customers of a private South Carolina utility still paying for two abandoned nuclear reactors.
Judge Michelle Childs’ ruling Thursday still leaves open the possibility the 15 percent rate reduction passed by state lawmakers could be halted before it goes on South Carolina Electric & Gas bills starting Tuesday.
In her 20-page ruling, Childs said SCE&G had a right to sue. The utility says the rate cut did not follow state law allowing it to continue to collect money for the two reactors it spent a decade planning and constructing before abandoning the project in July 2017.
The General Assembly and Public Service Commission approved the rate cut and asked the lawsuit be dismissed.
The average SCE&G customer would have about $25 a month cut from their bills.
Investors in a South Carolina utility humbled by a multibillion-dollar nuclear construction debacle voted against golden parachutes for top executives if they lose their jobs as a result of the sale to Virginia-based Dominion Energy.
But SCANA Corp.’s board chairman says the premium severance packages are locked in, no matter what investors decided when they voted Tuesday to approve the sale.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reports board chairman Maybank Hagood told investors the payouts were “contractual.” Those contracts entitle 11 current and former SCANA executives to payouts totaling nearly $38.5 million if they lose their jobs after the deal is approved.
SCANA and state-owned utility Santee Cooper sunk $9 billion into the failed nuclear project, obligating consumers to repay the debt in their power bills each month.