COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)- Utility company SCE&G is looking to fix financial problems after the company walked away from a multi-billion dollar nuclear plant earlier this year. The decision cost the company more than 5,000 jobs and close to 2 billion dollars that’s been added to customers’ bills.
WSPA 7News was at a press conference Thursday morning, where the company’s president announced a new proposal that will offer customers financial relief.
The conference started with SCE&G President Keller Kissam apologizing for the situation, which has caused an 18% increase on customers’ bills. Kissam offered a solution he’s calling a “win-win.”
Kissam announced the company will rollback residential electric rates to the rate it would have been in March 2015, which would mean a 3.5% decrease on their bills.
SCANA’s shareholders would then take the loss of the rest of the construction costs.
The company also announced it has entered an agreement to buy a 540-megawatt natural gas fired power plant. The plant in Calhoun County will replace more than 40% of the power the nuclear plants were supposed to provide.
The president says this is the answer to a lot of questions customers have been asking. “One of the things customers tell me and it resonates the strongest.. is the fact we paid for something and we’re not getting anything out of it,” said Keller Kissam, president of retail operations at SCE&G.
Kissam says the suggestions have to go through the regulatory process, but once that happens customers should see the reduction immediately.
Not everyone is satisfied with the proposal. Speaker of the House, James Lucas, called for the resignation of the company’s CEO in October.
Speaker Lucas issued this statement:
“Today’s proposal provides further proof that SCANA has consistently prioritized the company’s profits over protecting its consumers. Ratepayers have demanded a serious approach to the VC Summer nuclear facility collapse and the House has succeeded in meeting their demands. We will continue to move our utility ratepayer protection package through the legislative process to ensure South Carolina consumers receive the protections they deserve.”
Speaker Lucas adds the House will move forward with its series of bills that would eliminate that 18% and pay customers back.
The company says the proposal would generate close to $5 billion in benefits for SCE&G customers that would ultimately reduce rates.
The company is also adding more solar-energy to its system.