Like other Southeastern states, North Carolina passed its own law letting utilities charge in advance for big power plants like nuclear reactors.

But North Carolina’s law didn’t go quite as far. Instead of a wave of construction, it sent ripples of debate through the Legislature for years: Should they go farther?

Lawmakers ultimately never took that step.

The idea of a more aggressive law came up year after year. The legislation came to be known as “super CWIP” — short for “construction work in progress” financing — and it was never formally proposed. It was waylaid by consumer groups that shouted down the idea amid the Great Recession and doubts that shrouded nuclear work after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

But plans for new reactors were proposed. Charlotte-based Duke Energy has spent $549 million on a plant in South Carolina, near Gaffney, that would mostly power homes and businesses across the border. That plant never broke ground, and Duke walked away shortly after the V.C. Summer project was scrapped.

Duke has asked North Carolina regulators to charge electric customers there for more than two-thirds of those costs. And the company has said it plans to ask regulators in South Carolina to charge ratepayers here for the rest.

Raleigh-based Progress Energy also pitched a pair of reactors near the Research Triangle. But those plans were shelved shortly after the company merged with Duke.

Reach Thad Moore at 843-937-5703. Follow him on Twitter @thadmoore.