COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)–The fight continues as South Carolina lawmakers battle with utility companies over rate hikes. Lawmakers want SCE&G to refund the millions of dollars customers paid to offset money lost in a failed nuclear plant.
The utility company filed a motion to dismiss proposals that would end the company’s rate hikes. On Tuesday, they presented their argument in front of the Public Service Commission. Bankruptcy is SCE&G’s biggest concern. It all started with the multi-billion dollar plan to construct two nuclear plants, but those plans changed.
Attorney General Alan Wilson was there to testify on behalf of the 700,000 SCANA customers in the state. SCE&G is a subsidiary of the utility company that serves more than 20 counties in the state. “The project was then abandoned. Ratepayers have now paid billions in increased rates and have no nuclear plant to show for it,” said Wilson.
Customers have been picking up the pieces for several years paying an extra $27 a month. Lawmakers want to immediately stop the rate increases and find a way to refund the money to customers, but SCE&G says a move like that could cause the company financial hardship.
One of the attorneys for the utility company explained the damage these proposals could jumpstart. “The credit rating agencies would downgrade its credit rating // it could set in motion a quick cascade of events that would lead to ultimately a bankruptcy filing,” said Belton Zeigler.
One of the offices that approved those price increases says those approvals were based on inaccurate information.
SCE&G is trying to recoup its $450 million investment.