Lexington County Chronicle
December 13, 2018
SCANA can sell property to pay for its nuclear project
By Jerry Bellune
SCANA will be in no danger of bankruptcy if Dominion Energy walks away.
That’s what SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp has told state regulators about reducing excessive electric rates.
Knapp is one of the organizers of the Stop the Blank Check Coalition and an intervenor in the Public Service Commission hearings.
In a letter to the PSC, Knapp reminded commissioners that testimony was offered earlier that SCANA subsidiary SC Electric & Gas can remain a stand-alone company even if they lower rates up to 20%.
“SCANA has other sizable assets it could liquidate to cover the nuclear construction project’s costs, not … the ratepayers,” he wrote.
“Shareholders might not receive returns as they had in the past [but] their stocks would increase in value over time as the utility once again becomes healthy under new management,” he wrote.
“This scenario is preferred by many Lexington County residents, SCANA/SCE&G employees and South Carolina legislators.
“The sentiment is that too many corporate headquarters have moved out of South Carolina resulting in the loss of jobs, prestige, civic engagement and local input into company decisions.”
If Dominion Energy of Virginia walks away from buying SCANA, another utility would quickly make an offer knowing the impact of a PSC order, Knapp said. The PSC order will guarantee SCE&G will not challenge it in court nor file for bankruptcy.
Knapp said his goals are for the PSC to:
- Roll back electric rates 18% to where they were before they let SCE&G raise rates for the nuclear plant.
- Return more than $2 billion to ratepayers for what they were charged in nuclear financing costs.