Public Service Commission

The South Carolina Public Service Commission is set to announce how much South Carolina Electric & Gas customers have to pay for two failed nuclear reactors next week. File/John A. Carlos II/Special to The Post and Courier

COLUMBIA — South Carolina's utility regulators will announce Dec. 14 how much money South Carolina Electric & Gas customers will be forced to pay over the next two decades for two unfinished reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear station. 

The seven regulators on the Public Service Commission listened to nearly three weeks of testimony about the troubled nuclear project in November and reviewed the role that SCE&G's parent company, SCANA Corp., played in the costly boondoggle.

With the high-stakes hearing over, the state regulators are now prepared to decide how much money SCANA gets to collect from customers over the next 20 years and whether Virginia-based Dominion Energy gets to take over the troubled company. 

Dominion and SCANA's attorneys asked the utility commissioners to allow the companies to charge SCE&G ratepayers another $2.3 billion for the useless power plants in the coming years. SCE&G's roughly 720,000 electric ratepayers already paid more than $2 billion for the failed project since 2008. 

The state's utility watchdog agency, the Office of Regulatory Staff, has put forward an alternative plan that would require customers to pay another $1.7 billion instead. 

It's increasingly likely that customers are going to be charged something for the abandoned project due to a 2007 law that state lawmakers passed at the behest of SCANA.

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That law, known as the Base Load Review Act, allowed SCANA to charge people up front for the reactor project and it included language that all but guaranteed the company could bill customers even if it abandoned the huge construction effort. 

Any decision by the Public Service Commission can still be appealed to the S.C. Supreme Court. 

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