Day 14 of the PSC Hearing (11-20-18)

Day 14 of the PSC Hearing (11-20-18)

Day 14 of the PSC hearing featured ORS witnesses Kenneth Brown and Carlette Walker. Mr. Brown is the former SCE&G engineer employed on the nuclear project.  Ms. Walker is the former Vice President of Nuclear Finance Administration at SCANA.

Mr. Brown described himself as a perfectionist. He cited incompetent management of contractors prior to 2015 who were more concerned with profit margins than construction performance.

Mr. Brown testified that he led a small internal group at SCE&G to assess the status of the project. They determined that the Westinghouse projected costs to completion were too low due to overly and unattainable projection efficiency estimates.  He reported this to Ms. Walker, his senior SCE&G manager.

In a May 2015 meeting Mr. Brown recommended to SCANA attorneys that the internal cost to completion numbers should be used instead of the Westinghouse projections. The attorneys, Zeigler and Willoughby, rejected the recommendation because they said the PSC would not approve his cost to completion changes and that would threaten the project.  Mr. Brown said that Ms. Walker was not at this meeting, but the SCE&G petition filed with the PSC using Westinghouse’s numbers was approved under Ms. Walker’s signature.

Mr. Brown said that the later Bechtel Report was able to identify the same problems that his internal group found.

Mr. Brown said that he presented the Westinghouse numbers to the ORS consultant even though he thought they were wrong. He did so because the SCE&G executives instructed him to do so.  Mr. Brown did not believe it was his duty to warn the ORS consultant of his objections to what he presented.

Ms. Walker accused five SCANA executives of a conspiracy to run her out of the company because she complained about the progress of the project and SCANA’s effort to lie about the project.

By 2014 Ms. Walker had become increasingly frustrated with the labor performance of contractors, performance that continued to get worse.

In 2015 Ms. Walker told Mr. Marsh, CEO of SCANA, that the Westinghouse estimate for cost to completion was about $500 million too low. She said that Mr. Marsh indicated that he was going to file the upcoming PSC petition using the lower numbers because they came from Westinghouse.

Ms. Walker said that she went along with this filing because she needed health insurance for her seriously ill husband and she knew that she would lose her job if she refused to testify in support of the estimate she didn’t agree with.

According to Ms. Walker, ego, greed, and lack of integrity by senior SCANA executives are responsible for the failure of the project.

Ms. Walker also testified about the fixed price contract SCE&G negotiated with Westinghouse that required SCE&G to pay $100 million a month over six months to Westinghouse regardless of the actual construction costs. Those construction costs had never been more than $50 million a month.

Ms. Walker believed that SCE&G knew that Westinghouse was experiencing financial difficulties and that SCE&G was essentially financing Westinghouse.