Natural gas prices are at historic lows and are expected to stay so into the foreseeable future.

About three equivalent natural gas-fired power plants could be built for the more than $10 billion expected cost of the two new SCE&G reactors.

Even with $2 billion already spent on the two new V.C. Summer reactors, ratepayers would spend less if the reactors were mothballed and replaced with natural gas, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.

SCE&G gave scant attention to the potential for wind and solar and an aggressive energy efficiency program in its effort to justify the need for new nuclear reactors.

Cost overruns and unexpected costs have already added almost $500 million to the expected cost of the new reactors. Given the history of nuclear power, odds are that more cost overruns will be on the way for ratepayers to pay.

The main reason SCE&G is continuing with expensive nuclear power reactors is because South Carolina law allows for advanced cost recovery that makes ratepayers bear most of the financial risk.

Sources: Public Service Commission and SC Supreme Court filings