Regarding the crisis associated with the failed expansion of the V. C. Summer Nuclear Station, bankruptcy for SCANA is not a curse. It’s a cure. The purpose of bankruptcy is to address and unravel legal entanglements associated with a set of individual contracts, arrangements, commitments or obligations that cannot be independently or ethically resolved through a process of dealing with each individually.
The use of fear tactics by SCANA and Dominion Energy — the supposed savior out of this mess — is not the answer. Dominion would not be using all sorts of tactics such as lobbying, press articles and TV adds if it did not see real value in its deal to acquire SCANA.
With a non-resolvable set of problems, bankruptcy often is the best (or only) solution. Situations that lead to bankruptcies can be characterized as a sequence of bad decisions made over a period of time, eventually coalescing into an unresolvable entanglement.
This is exactly what occurred in creating this quagmire. It starts with a well-intentioned desire of the state to solve a perceived need for more locally available electricity. Enter an electric power provider that had insufficient financial strength to independently expand its production to provide the desired power with a management team that it now seems obviously did not have the experience, technical skills, management expertise, or honesty to manage the construction of two nuclear power plants.
These two players signed on with an equipment manufacturer that offered a poorly engineered, untested design, which proved to be unworkable.
The body assigned to oversee this unfolding nightmare was apparently unprepared to deal with an entity with less than transparent ethics. Finally, anxious state legislators provided an ill-advised, finance scheme to put this train on the track toward the disaster ratepayers are now expected to pay for.
The S.C. House and the governor have it right; the citizens should not pay another dime to buy a way out of this debacle.
Bankruptcy will not cause the existing power plants to evaporate or the workforce to stop making power. While in bankruptcy, the facilities will continue to function. Out of a painful, court-controlled process justice will be served.
Those who caused the mess will pay, and the ratepayers will end up with new management to forge a future. South Carolina will still have the attributes and attractions that draw new residents and companies to our state.
Wendell W. Robinson