Power company wants to cut South Carolina rates

By Meg Kinnard, Associated Press

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. wants to cut its customers' rates in half over the next three years after abandoning the construction of two nuclear reactors.

 

CAYCE, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. wants to cut its customers' rates in half over the next three years after abandoning the construction of two nuclear reactors.

SCE&G President Keller Kissam told reporters in Cayce on Thursday the utility wants an immediate rate reduction of 3.5 percent. Kissam said the company's shareholders will be responsible for the net construction costs for the next 50 years.

Such a rate reduction would require the approval of state regulators.

SCE&G has been under fire since the utility and its state-owned partner Santee Cooper abandoned the project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station on July 31, after spending more than $9 billion, for which it already had charged customers nearly $2 billion.

The two utilities blamed the failure on the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the main contractor for the project.

State, federal and financial entities are investigating the failure. Lawmakers are advancing legislation that would halt charges for ratepayers.

Kissam said the company has entered an option to buy a 540 megawatt natural gas generating operation in Calhoun County to replace part of the generating capacity that was lost with the abandonment of the Fairfield County nuclear project.

SCE&G will also add 100 megawatts capacity in solar power, a 50 percent increase in current operations, Kissam said.

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