The state House has rejected a Senate proposal to temporarily cut South Carolina Electric and Gas customers’ rates by 13 percent until the matter can be settled by the Public Service Commission later this year.
The House proposal slashed to zero the 18 percent surcharge SCE&G bills ratepayers for two abandoned nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.
“By allowing SCANA to continue to collect money from hardworking SCE&G ratepayers for a failed and fraudulent nuclear project, the Senate is sending a clear message that it prioritizes big business over South Carolina families,” House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The proposal is headed to a conference committee, where six senators and representatives will work out the two chambers’ differences.
“The legislative process is designed to work out policy disagreements by way of a conference committee, rather than caving to a particular body’s demands. The House is committed to advocating for full and total relief for SCE&G customers and our conferees stand ready to continue the fight for ratepayers.”
Of the 18 percent—or roughly $27 per month on the average customer’s bill—that funds the nuclear reactors, approximately $22 goes to shareholders. The other $5 pays for bonds issued to fund the nuclear project.
Senators went out of their way to ensure a rate cut wouldn’t ultimately doom SCE&G.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster does not support any ongoing charges to ratepayers for the project.
“Doing the right thing on behalf of the people we have been elected to serve should always take priority over the concerns of any company, and in the strongest possible terms, I urge the Senate to do the right thing and make sure no South Carolinian pays another dime for power plants they will never get,” McMaster said in a statement on Wednesday.