SC utility wants lawsuit tossed out of court

FILE -- Dozens of construction workers prepare the site where one of two new nuclear reactors will be built at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, S.C. on Monday, April 9, 2012. SCE&G and Santee Cooper are jointly operating the reactors, hoping to open one in 2017 and the second in 2018. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Attorneys for South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. want a Circuit Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the company’s charging of ratepayers for two nuclear reactors it stopped building last year.

Media outlets reported Circuit Judge John Hayes heard arguments Monday on whether the courts should consider lawsuits challenging the payments or have those questions referred to utility regulators.

SCE&G attorneys told Hayes a 2007 law allowing utilities to charge up front for the reactors states that any questions should be heard by the Public Service Commission.

But lawyers for a customer challenging the charges as well as the South Carolina attorney general’s office say the 2007 law is probably unconstitutional and unfairly favors utilities over ratepayers.

Hayes did not indicate when he would make a decision.

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