FOE: South Carolina Bungled Nuclear Reactor Construction Project Canceled
July 31, 2017
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Next Step: Who will be Held Accountable and When will Ratepayers Receive Refunds?


See the full press release by Friends of the Earth, featuring a statement by FOE's senior advisor, Tom Clements.

Here is an excerpt from Clements' statement:

To reduce the on-going blow to SCE&G ratepayers already paying 18% of the bill just to pay for project financing, it’s time for money to be refunded as it was collected from them under the false pretense that advance payment for the nuclear project was sound. In proceedings before the South Carolina Public Service Commission, we pledge to be a steward of the public interest and to determine who must be held accountable for this boondoggle and to fight for monetary reparations to customers.

Advance payment has also been referred to as "Construction Work in Progress," or CWIP.

Update on August 1, 2017 by Registered Commenteradmin

The Washington Post has reported on this story, in an article entitled "S.C. utilities halt work on new nuclear reactors, dimming the prospects for a nuclear energy revival."

The article reports:

Special provisions in South Carolina and Georgia allow utilities to charge ratepayers for a portion of power projects before they come online, a controversial way for private utilities to raise capital. South Carolina ratepayers already have kicked in $1.4 billion through surcharges on their monthly bills.

“We simply cannot ask our customers to pay for a project that has become uneconomical,” Lonnie Carter, the president and chief executive of Santee Cooper, said in a statement. “And even though suspending construction is the best option for them, we are disappointed that our contractor has failed to meet its obligations and put Santee Cooper and our customers in this situation.”

Those "special provisions" are also known as Construction Work in Progress (CWIP), advanced cost recovery, or a nuclear tax surcharge on residential and small business electricity bills. They are illegal in most states. But they were made legal in such states as Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. At the now-cancelled Levy County, FL, and Summer, SC proposed new nuclear power plants, such CWIP surcharges have cost electric consumers many billions of dollars, without a single kilowatt-hour of electricity in return!

However, nuclear power industry executives, lobbyists, and shareholders did pocket that money, at ratepayer expense, laughing all the way to the bank. Of course, some of that ratepayer money undoubtedly has flowed to elected officials, at the state and even federal levels of government, in the form of campaign contributions (not to mention lobbying expenditures). Even if that ratepayer-politician monetary transfer was not direct, it was certainly indirect. Such public subsidies have freed up other corporate funding streams, that then took the form of such best-democracy-money-can-buy (in the words of Greg Palast, investigative reporter and long-time nuclear power industry watch-dog) campaign contributions, etc. 

The next shoe to drop could well be the atomic new build at Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, geographically not far from the now abandoned Summer 2 and 3 construction site in South Carolina, ironically. At Vogtle 3 and 4, not only is ratepayer funding at risk, but so too is U.S. taxpayer funding, to the tune of $8.3 billion, in the form of federal nuclear loan guarantees.

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/).
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