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S.C. Public Service Commission to Decide on December 20 on Challenge to Friends of the Earth Complaint in Nuclear Reactor Construction Fiasco in South Carolina

PSC to likely Rule Against South Carolina Electric & Gas’ “Motion to Dismiss” Effort to Recover Money Wasted on Nuclear Reactor Debacle

Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) is set to rule on an attempt by South Carolina Electric and Gas to block a complaint by Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club that seeks to recover ratepayer money wasted on the terminated VC Summer nuclear reactor construction debacle.

The PSC has placed on its agenda for Wednesday, December 20 action on SCE&G’s “motion to dismiss” a complaint filed by FOE/Sierra Club on June 22, in which the environmental groups sought to recover up to $5 billion wasted by SCE&G on the now-terminated nuclear project.  The complaint – in Docket 2017-207-E – also seeks to direct SCE&G to explore energy conservation, efficiency and alternative energy.

“As our complaint is on solid legal ground, we fully anticipate that the PSC will rule in our favor and throw out the SCE&G effort to derail efforts to recover money for customers that was wasted on the nuclear debacle,” said Tom Clements, senior adviser with Friends of the Earth.  “While we are representing our members in our work at the PSC we are also representing the public interest in how matters unfold on the nuclear project, including advocating for a better, more sustainable energy future in South Carolina,” added Clements.

The PSC’s will also rule at its weekly meeting on December 20 on SCE&G’s motion to dismiss an effort by the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) to remove an 18% charge for the nuclear project that now appears on a customer’s monthly bill.  PSC hearings on the SCE&G motions were held on December 22 and December 23, so this fast action in issuing a ruling indicates that the PSC is feeling the heat from the public and politicians on this matter, according to Friends of the Earth.

The PSC agenda – located here includes the following items pertinent to the nuclear project, which was formally terminated on July 31, 2017 – agenda item number 35 is on the status of the FOE/Sierra Club complaint:


34. DOCKET NO. 2017-305-E – Request of the Office of Regulatory Staff for Rate Relief to South Carolina Electric & Gas Company’s Rates Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 58-27-920 – Staff Presents for Commission Consideration South Carolina Electric & Gas Company’s Motion to Dismiss.

35. DOCKET NO. 2017-207-E – Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club, Complainant/Petitioner v. South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, Defendant/Respondent – Staff Presents for Commission Consideration South Carolina Electric & Gas Company’s Motion to Dismiss.

36. DOCKET NO. 2017-244-E – Petition of South Carolina Electric & Gas Company for Prudency Determination Regarding Abandonment, Amendments to the Construction Schedule, Capital Cost Schedule and Other Terms of the BLRA Orders for the V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 and Related Matters, along with a Motion for Expedited Hearing – Staff Presents for Commission Consideration the Office of Regulatory Staff’s Letter Regarding the Existence of a Memorandum of Understanding between South Carolina Electric & Gas Company and the Westinghouse Corporation.

 

If the FOE/Sierra Club complaint is not dismissed the organizations’ right to review past PSC decisions allowing SCE&G reactor construction cost overrun request will be protected.  As PSC approvals of billions of dollars of cost overruns were based on lack of full informational disclosure by SCE&G, the groups will continue to press for refunding of money wasted on the nuclear project.  At some point this matter will move to a full hearing before the PSC.

Once the SCE&G motion is dismissed by the PSC, FOE/Sierra Club will file a request with the PSC seeking to compel the company to fully comply with document “discovery.”  So far, SCE&G’s compliance with discovery, as directed by the PSC, has been totally inadequate, according to Clements.

Expert contact: Tom Clements, 803-834-3084

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