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      SC Supreme Court strikes down SCE&G rate hike

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's highest court says SCE&G customers should not have to pay for a contingency fund to cover costs the company may incur while building nuclear reactors.

      Related Stories SC utility seeks nuclear plant related rate hike Regulators discuss proposed SCE&G rate increase SCE&G softening rate increase request The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that regulators overstepped their authority when they approved the rate increase because such a price hike can't pay for contingency costs.

      Opponents had argued the $438 million fund should not be included in the company's construction estimates.

      The contingency costs were included in a rate increase regulators approved last year. The company is charging electricity customers an average of 2.5 percent more each year over 10 years to help pay for the $10 billion project in Jenkinsville.

      SCE&G is building the reactors with state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

      (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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