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Nuclear project faces complaint before SC PSC

On Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 12:30 p.m., in front of the S.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) office, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth (FOE) will jointly announce via a press conference the filing of a formal request for a PSC hearing on the prudence of the twin V.C. Summer reactors under construction by South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper. The groups, who will file the complaint after the press event, will request that the PSC direct SCE&G to “immediately cease expending further capital costs on the project.”

Guild and Clements will explain the reasons for the filing and review the state of affairs with the troubled project, with FOE and Sierra Club supporters in attendance. 

Pursuant to S.C. law and the PSC’s regulations, the groups will initiate a formal adjudicatory proceeding aimed at determining the prudency of decisions in connection with the V.C. Summer project. The filing will request examination of termination of the mismanaged project, in favor of lower-cost efficiency, conservation and renewable energy alternatives.  

The V.C. Summer project’s problems to date have been widely reported by the media, including a declaration of bankruptcy by Westinghouse, the reactor vendor. Construction is only 37% complete and ratepayers have been put on the hook for billions of dollars to finance and construct the reactors since approved by the PSC in 2009. Though SCE&G has failed to provide a cost estimate or schedule, the project’s cost is now over $15 billion and is delayed several years, placing customers at risk of massive rate hikes under the unjust Baseload Review Act.

The following aspects are now being analyzed by an economist expert in utility regulation and who will be the FOE-Sierra Club expert witness in future proceedings:

  1. To what extent there has been wasteful and unauthorized spending;
  2. Ratepayers would benefit from recovered costs;
  3. Lack of a free-market approach doomed the project from the start;
  4. Customers’ rates could be mitigated by on-bill financing for alternative measures; and,
  5. Pursuit of least-cost alternatives such as solar, wind, efficiency and conservation.

The SC Sierra Club has over 20,000 members and supporters across South Carolina and is dedicated to its mission to explore, enjoy and protect the state.

Friends of the Earth defends the environment and champions a healthy and just world.

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