SCE&G Said Lowering Rates Will Cause Bankruptcy After Nuclear Plant Fiasco

Top lawyer: Ratepayers ‘holding the bag’ on nuke project
December 12, 2017
SCE&G asks Public Service Commission to dismiss filing over rate increases
December 12, 2017

Columbia, SC (WOLO)– SCE&G requested that the Public Service Commission allowed them to keep the same rates, and not force them to decrease.  SCE&G said lowering their rates after nine rate increases since the nuclear plant’s inception would injure their company and punish ratepayers even more. However, there were plenty of people who spoke against SCE&G’s motion to dismiss the decrease, including Attorney General Alan Wilson.

“The construction project was then abandoned, ratepayers have now spent billions in higher rates, but have no nuclear facility to show for it,” Wilson said.

SCE&G claims the Office of Regulatory Staff has not conducted their preliminary investigation, which would show that a rate decrease would have negative effects.

“The end result would be, SCE&G would have no choice to file bankruptcy. And make no mistake about it, one in this room wants SCE&G in bankruptcy, I don’t believe. If they do, I don’t  think they know what it would mean for the state and for the people here,” Belton T. Zeigler said, an attorney for SCE&G.

SCE&G says they would have to spend money on Bankruptcy fees, lawyers, specialized accountants, and specialists. Money they claim would be better spent going towards their customers. The office of Regulatory Staff said they have conducted their investigation and they do not believe a rate decrease would injury the company any more.

“We don’t think so, and we certainly hope not. We are not looking to damage the company. What we are wanting to do is what is right. And we believe the right thing to do is to suspend the revised rates,” Shannon Bowyer Hudson said, a representative for the Office of Regulatory Staff.

The elephant in the room was brought up many times, with almost every presenter in front of the Public Service Commission: SCE&G sat on the Bechtel report since 2015 saying the plant was going to fail, and yet continued to increase rates.

“I would respectfully submit that the foundation that on which revised rates were rewarded were on a flawed foundation, because you did not have information that you should have had,” Hudson said.

Now Wilson wants the bleeding of ratepayers to end.

“Real people, and I talk to them all the time, they’re hurting. They’re struggling to pay their light and heating bills month to month. You have the power to help them, and that is what we’re asking,” Wilson said.

The Public Service Commission has yet to make a decision determining if rates will decrease or not. There will be another meeting Wednesday morning.