SC regulators open hearings on electric rates

SCE&G Nuclear Plant_522263

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) – South Carolina regulators are set to begin hearing weeks of testimony over where to set electric rates for South Carolina Electric & Gas customers after the failed construction of two nuclear reactors.

The rate hearings before the Public Service Commission begin Thursday. Lawyers have said they could last through most of November.

Commissioners are trying to decide how much SCE&G customers should pay after the utility lost billions of dollars building two nuclear reactors that were never finished.

Lawyers for consumer advocates and environmental groups want every rate hike previously approved to pay for the program eliminated. That would knock about $27 off the average monthly bill. They also think SCE&G should refund $2 billion already paid.

SCE&G officials say that would bankrupt the company.

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