Republican Gov. Henry McMaster is urging SCANA to stop collecting approximately $37 million monthly from ratepayers to fund a nuclear project that its subsidiary, South Carolina Electric and Gas abandoned in late July.
In a letter dated October 19 to the company’s CEO, Kevin Marsh, McMaster asked SCANA to refund to ratepayers the money used to fund the construction of two nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville.
“I believe this is the right thing to do under these circumstances,” he wrote. “It is unreasonable and oppressive for SCANA to require its customers to bear the burden of actions and decisions in which customers played no part and over which they had no control.
McMaster asked SCANA to use its share of the funds from a settlement with Toshiba–roughly $1 billion–to refund the ratepayers, who had been billed in advance for a project they would never benefit from.
“Moreover, as SCANA seeks to stabilize its future in the face of investigations and ratepayer lawsuits, it would be unwise to spend years litigating the constitutionality of the Base Load Review Act,” added the former S.C. attorney general and U.S. attorney.
Approved in 2007, the BLRA made it easier for utilities to raise rates to fund projects, whether they reach completion or not, as long as they can prove their spending is prudent.
The letter comes just two days after news reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the investor-owned utility.
McMaster, who has been campaigning for a second term as governor, has also been seeking a buyer for state-owned Santee Cooper, SCE&G’s partner on the project.
Read the letter here.