Lawmakers pass proposed bills despite concerns from Santee Cooper

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

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) --- On Tuesday state lawmakers moved forward with six proposals that could save power customers some money. The plans would limit how much Santee Cooper and SCE&G customers pay each month after both utilities abandoned that nuclear project in Fairfield County.

The proposals would replace Santee Cooper's board members, apply new criteria for future applicants, and require rate approval through the South Carolina Public Service Commission. It would also end a roughly $27 a month charge customers have been paying into that failed project.

The bills could also require SCE&G to refund customers more than $1.7 billion they've already paid into the job. Santee Cooper's Chief Executive said the measures could potentially hurt the company's credit rating and ultimately lead to higher cost for customers.

Still, Representative Peter McCoy said significant action is necessary.

"I don't take kindly to people coming in front of us today saying a potential piece of legislation that we are doing is going to hurt Santee Cooper, because number one that's not our intention,” McCoy said. “Nobody on this committee, the speaker, nobody on our previous committee wants to hurt Santee Cooper in the slightest, it's the decision, and the agreements that they've entered into that did not look out for the ratepayers that would hurt them."

The proposals still have quite a journey to go before becoming law. State lawmakers return to the state house to resume the legislative session in January.

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