End of nuclear project prompts overhaul of review process

In this Friday, June 13, 2014 photo, construction continues on a new nuclear reactor at Plant Vogtle power plant in Waynesboro, Ga. The first two reactors being built in 18 years, Southern Co.'s Vogtle plant in Georgia and SCANA Corp.'s VC Summer plant in South Carolina, are being assembled in large modules. Large chunks of the modules are built off-site, in an effort to improve quality and avoid the chronic cost overruns that all but killed the nuclear industry when the first wave of plants was being built in the 1960s and 1970s. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina legislators are calling for an overhaul in the review of utility projects following the abandonment of two nuclear reactors residents have been funding since 2009.

A bipartisan group of legislators are announcing Wednesday the creation of an energy caucus.

Rep. James Smith says the “catastrophic” end of the project north of Columbia shows the current regulatory process doesn’t adequately protect South Carolinians.

The project’s owners, SCE&G and state-owned Santee Cooper, decided Monday to end construction following the bankruptcy filing of its main contractor.

The project accounts for 18 percent of SCE&G’s and more than 8 percent of Santee Cooper’s residential electric bills.

A 2007 state law allows electric utilities to collect money from customers to finance a project before it generates power and recoup costs even if it’s never operational.

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