SCE&G says Duke not part of expansion


COLUMBIA — Utility officials on Thursday knocked down reports that Duke Energy could be joining in SCE&G's expansion project at its Jenkinsville nuclear plant.

"We are not looking for other partners," SCE&G spokesman Robert Yanity said.

Columbia-based South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. already is partnering with state-operated Santee Cooper on a $9.8 billion plan to add two 1,110-megawatt reactor units at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

Duke still plans to build two 1,110-megawatt reactor units at its Lee plant near Gaffney in Cherokee County, said spokeswoman Rita Sipe.

Duke is "evaluating partnership opportunities" for the $11 billion Lee project, Sipe added. "Beyond that, I can't really say more."

The Wall Street Journal's "Power Points" column reported Wednesday that analysts think Duke might want to invest in the Fairfield County power plant.

The article quoted David Hauser, Duke's chief financial officer, saying: "We think partnering is the right thing to do, whether it is partnering in something we build, or something that someone else is building."

Duke, which serves five states including 600,000 residential and business customers in South Carolina, originally planned to partner with Atlanta-based Southern Company on the Lee project.

But Southern pulled out, opting to build within its service territory. Duke then bought Southern's share of the Lee project.

Although it doesn't have a partner, Duke is in the process of obtaining a federal license to build and operate the Cherokee County plant, Sipe said.

SCE&G needs no more partners because it and Santee Cooper will need all the power the new units will produce to meet future power needs in South Carolina, Yanity said.

The Jenkinsville project has been approved by state regulators, but still needs a construction and operating license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The first unit is scheduled to be in operation in 2016.

SCE&G serves about 652,000 residential and business customers in South Carolina.