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Former SCE&G ratepayers will receive payments through nuclear settlement in August

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South Carolina Electric & Gas abandoned its plans to expand the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant in 2017. File/High Flyer/Provided

Hundreds of thousands of former South Carolina Electric & Gas customers are expected to receive payouts totaling $60 million this month as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement over the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. 

Any ratepayer who paid SCE&G for electricity between roughly 2009 and 2018 is eligible to receive part of the settlement over the two abandoned reactors in Fairfield County. 

The payments come nearly two months after a South Carolina judge finalized the settlement between SCE&G — now part of Dominion Energy — and several law firms that sued on behalf of ratepayers.

This is not the $1,000 checks that Dominion marketed during its campaign to acquire SCE&G and its parent company, Cayce-based SCANA Corp. That refund plan was dropped. 

The customers who qualify under the court settlement don't have to do anything to receive the money. The checks will be sent through the mail between Aug 1. and Aug. 10. 

SCE&G ratepayers were already billed more than $2 billion to finance the failed nuclear project, which was abandoned by SCE&G and its partner Santee Cooper in late July 2017. And Dominion is prepared to charge its new South Carolina customers another $2.3 billion for the reactors over the next 20 years. 

The former SCE&G ratepayers won't receive all of their money back through the settlement payments.

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"While nobody can turn back the clock and eliminate the bad decisions of the past, we are happy that SCE&G customers will not have to bear the full burden of those decisions," said Edward Westbrook, one of the lead attorneys in the class-action lawsuit. 

The payouts will be based on how much electricity each ratepayer purchased from SCE&G over the course of the project. 

On the high end, large industrial customers could be reimbursed more than $1 million, Westbrook said. Roughly 41,000 homes and businesses, Westbrook added, are expected to receive over $100.

But others could see checks for less than $20. 

Westbrook emphasized the payouts are part of a larger settlement, which was negotiated last year. 

As part of that, Dominion agreed to cover $2 billion in remaining costs for the reactors instead of passing those along to customers. 

The Richmond, Va.-based utility company also agreed to sell several SCE&G properties that are valued between $60 million and $85 million. 

The money from the sale of those properties, Westbrook said, will also be mailed out to former SCE&G customers once the sales are finalized. 

Reach Andrew Brown at 843-708-1830 or follow him on Twitter @andy_ed_brown.

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