- Associated Press - Thursday, March 22, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A Virginia utility seeking to buy a South Carolina utility says its customers would pay nearly $4 billion for a failed nuclear project.

Media outlets reported state regulators said this week the plan by Dominion Energy would require customers of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. to pay $3.8 billion over the next 20 years for the failed reactor project.

The plan calls for SCE&G; residential customers to pay about $1.8 billion over 20 years. The remaining $2 billion would come from business customers.

That’s less than SCE&G;’s current funding model or an alternative the company proposed after the project failure. Both those proposals would spread customers’ payments over 50 years.

Dominion has also proposed a refund to SCE&G; customers totaling about $1.3 billion. That figure is based largely on a settlement SCE&G; has reached with its contractor.

The Dominion proposal needs Public Service Commission approval.

But Dominion has said legal changes South Carolina lawmakers are considering would prompt them to withdraw the request to buy SCANA, parent company of SCE&G.;

Some South Carolina lawmakers and Gov. Henry McMaster, don’t want SCE&G; customers to pay anything else for the failed project.

SCE&G; customers already have paid $2 billion for the project. About a fifth of the typical residential customers’ bills, or $27 per month, has gone for the reactors.

A South Carolina House proposal would block the collection of those charges while regulators consider who should pay for the failed project. The Senate has not acted on that measure, which some say could be illegal.

SCE&G; and the state-owned utility Santee Cooper abandoned plans for two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County on July 31 after lead contractor Westinghouse’s bankruptcy. The utilities had spent about $9 billion at the time.

The charge for the reactor project is 4.5 percent of a Santee Cooper customer’s bill, but it says the rates will be going up to pay the debt.

SCE&G; would not talk about the new figures Wednesday.

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