Failed S.C. nuclear project refund lawsuits allowed to go forward

VC Summer Nuclear Site, Jenkinsville, S.C. (SCE&G)

A judge has ruled lawsuits can continue over whether some utility customers in South Carolina can get refunds for money they paid for nuclear reactors that never generated power.

Circuit Judge John Hayes III refused request by SCANA Corp. to throw out the five lawsuits. The company argued it was an issue for state regulators.

But Hayes' Thursday ruling says the Public Service Commission has no power to decide if SCANA was negligent or if the law allowing the company to collect money to pay for the reactors before they were built in constitutional.

SCANA customers have paid for the reactors for a decade. Average households are paying about $27 a month, or a fifth of their bills for the reactors. SCANA and state-owned Santee Cooper abandoned construction last summer.

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