The eventual completion of two new nuclear reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer site in central South Carolina has never been more in doubt. But one thing is clear, SCE&G and Santee Cooper ratepayers are going to be on the hook for a lot of money, no matter what happens. In fact, customers of both utilities have already paid a lot through rate hikes to cover financing costs for the new reactors. SCE&G customers have had their rates raised nine times so far as a result of the nuclear project, costing them more than $1.4 billion since 2009, according to the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS), which acts as a consumer watchdog on the projects. That money isn’t ever coming back, even if the reactors never get finished. And that possibility is currently on the table, according to SCANA, the parent company of SCE&G. The problem is that Westinghouse, the main contractor overseeing construction on the reactors, is filing for bankruptcy. Toshiba, which owns Westinghouse, stands to lose about $10 billion as a result. And even if Santee Cooper and SCE&G manage to get Westinghouse or another contractor to finish the work, the final price tag could be a lot higher than the current $14 billion budget, which itself is nearly $3 billion more than initial estimates.
Post & Courier 16th April 2017 read more »