Power company wants to cut SC rates in half over next 3 years

This Sept. 18, 2017 photo shows the partially built V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station near Jenkinsville, S.C. On Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, the boards of state-owned Santee Cooper and the private South Carolina Electric & Gas approved the sale of their share of a $2.2 billion, five-year settlement over the failed nuclear project so that they can recover nearly 92 percent of the cash immediately. (AP Photo)

CAYCE, S.C. (AP) – The Latest on South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. plans after failed nuclear project (all times local):

9:35 a.m.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. wants to cut its customers’ rates in half over the next three years after abandoning the construction of two nuclear reactors.

SCE&G President Keller Kissam told reporters in Cayce on Thursday the utility wants an immediate rate reduction of 3.5 percent. Kissam said the company’s shareholders will be responsible for the major construction costs for the next 50 years.

Such a rate reduction would require the approval of state regulators.

SCE&G has been under fire since the utility and its state-owned partner Santee Cooper abandoned the project July 31, after spending more than $9 billion, for which it already had charged customers nearly $2 billion.

The two utilities blamed the failure on the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the main contractor for the project.

___

7:10 a.m.

One of the co-owners of a nuclear construction debacle in South Carolina is planning to discuss its decision to abandon the multi-billion dollar project.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. officials say President Keller Kissam is holding a news conference Thursday at the company’s headquarters in Cayce.

SCE&G and state-owned utility Santee Cooper stopped construction July 31 on two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. They have blamed the failure in large part on the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the chief contractor.

The utilities had already spent more than $9 billion. Much of that came from ratepayers, who are still being billed for the project.

State, federal and financial entities are investigating the failure. Lawmakers are advancing legislation that would halt charges for ratepayers.