You could be paying twice for V.C. Summer

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The state has some huge electricity bills

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ

In the wake of Santee Cooper and SCE&G abandoning construction of two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer site in Jenkinsville, there’s been a lot of media discussion about who’s to blame and who will pay.

The fear for many is that the electricity customers of the two providers will keep paying now for a project that may never be completed. And there’s a building sentiment that state government is to blame, at least for having failed to exercise adequate oversight of the partners’ activities, since Santee Cooper is owned by the state and SCE&G is regulated by it.

Less noticed has been the situation of what appears to be SCE&G’s biggest customer and ratepayer: the state of South Carolina.

In fiscal year 2016, the state paid SCE&G $31,610,889. That money went to keep the lights on and the air conditioning running at its various agencies and appendages, such as the Forestry Commission, the Mental Health Department, the Department of Public Safety, and so on, according to records maintained by the state’s Comptroller General.

In 2015, the bill was $33,116,417, its twelfth-highest vendor payment.

In 2014, it was $32,370,703.

From 2012, which is as far back as the Comptroller General’s online records go, until 2017, South Carolina has paid SCE&G $187,651,381.

If one takes a conservative estimate of the amount of ratepayers’ bills that went to construct the partly-built reactors, South Carolina, just as a ratepayer, has sunk $33.8 million into the project.

This means that if you were already an SCE&G ratepayer, helping to subsidize the reactors whether you wished to or not, even as its parent company’s shareholders profited from your failed investment, and you pay the state in any combination of fees and taxes, well, SCANA’s executives and shareholders could have at least sent a thank-you note.

In year 2016-17, the state paid Santee Cooper $2,464,964, with some part of that going for utility bills, and some part of that going toward the V.C. Summer construction costs.

In the same period, the state paid Duke Energy and its affiliates (Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy Carolinas) $16,640,674, with a good chunk of it going to utility bills — but of course, Duke wasn’t also billing for the costs of building two nuclear reactors that now may never come online.

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  • Lyn Wilson

    Every business has to figure in energy costs as part of it’s pricing scheme, so every interaction with local businesses that are SCE&G customers has been a double-dip into my pocket as well

  • Krystle Burnette

    Please question the assumptions used to support abandonment. Marsh chose the highest of estimates to justify. The truth is that estimate was done by a Yale PHD that was lobbying against represented by the Friends of the Earth. Marsh was in the very least negligent and possibly acted in a manner that pushes him into criminal territory. He sprung it on the PSC to ensure no time to look into assumptions. From a business perspective this was genius however from a legal perspective there becomes a point where a estimate becomes criminal. The decision was made well ahead of the announcement. He stated and I quote “This is the most responsible decision for the ratepayer the business and the state” well for the business yes. Everyone else bears the burden. Once Toshiba agreed to pay 2.2 Bil it was obvious the route the utility would go down. Marsh withdrew the proposal in order to wait for the fire to die down. He stated they wanted to finish at least one unit. Bold lie. You see evidence when the Governor started look for Sante replacements. Marsh back tracked quickly stating The future to continue construction was a long shot. He doesn’t want to. If given the decision to make 4-6 Bil in 12 months vs 4-6 Bil in 12 yrs. It becomes obvious. Plenty of info exist and any of this can be documented just ask. The guy is a criminal.

    • Lyn Wilson

      I agree with your ‘criminal’ assessment. It occurs to me that SCE&G may never have intended to bring the two reactors online. Also,,,,seeing their obvious incompetence at managing a project or a budget, I am not certain I would want them running a nuke facility.