SCE&G presented its first witness today. Jimmy Addison, who was the CFO of SCE&G over the past several years before becoming CEO in 2018, took his seat at the witness table and spent the day answering questions.
Bob Guild, attorney for the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth, started the questioning. Mr. Addison admitted that omitting material facts and information is not being totally transparent. He said that he did not encourage the former executive accountant for SCE&G, Carlette Walker, to provide false financial information to regulators (an accusation that Ms. Walker has made in sworn testimony). Mr. Addison also said that he had no knowledge of any work former SCANA-CEO Bill Timmerman did for his $1.8 million contract to advise on the nuclear project.
Mr. Knapp then questioned Mr. Addison about his knowledge of the state legislature making significant changes to the Base Load Review Act this year. Mr. Addison said that those changes have already caused serious problems for SCE&G, a violation of one of Dominion’s for not moving forward with its acquisition of SCE&G/SCANA. Mr. Addison said that it would be more appropriate for Dominion to continue that line of questioning.
Mr. Knapp then asked Mr. Addison about Dominion’s proposed Customer Benefit Plan the utility wants to put in place if it is permitted to purchase SCE&G/SCANA. The principle features of this plan would be a $1000 average rate credit that consumers would receive after the purchase and a 7% reduction in pre-abandonment rates.
Mr. Addison agreed that the money SCE&G would need for this rate credit proposal, $1.3 billion, would come from Dominion. However, he said that any further questions about this consumer loan, as it has been characterized, should be directed to Dominion.
Mr. Addison acknowledged that not all ratepayers would get the$1000 rate credit because it is an average figure. Again, he referred all other questions about this proposal to Dominion.
Mr. Addison also agreed that the proposed 7% rate cut from pre-abandonment rates would mean that consumers would actually see a 7-8% rate hike from the current rates they are paying.
Regarding Plan B, Dominion’s most recent proposed benefit plan for ratepayers if there is a merger of the two companies, would also result in a slight rate increase from current rates should it be approved.
Matthew Richardson, attorney for ORS, then questioned Mr. Addison covering a wide number of issues to show that SCE&G deceived the ORS and PSC in both the 2015 and 2016 PSC hearings on the nuclear project’s costs and completion dates.
Mr. Addison again denied that anyone at SCE&G suborned perjury (referring to Ms. Walkers allegations that she was pressured to file inaccurate financial documents, documents that were filed under her name but without her knowledge). He said that SCE&G never deceived ORS or the PSC when it withheld higher projected costs and longer completion dates for the nuclear project.
However, Mr. Addison now feels that it would have been better if the PSC and ORS would have known about the internal analysis that projected higher costs and longer time to completion. He also felt that it would have been better had the regulators known about the Bechtel Report at the time it was being prepare red and the final product.
Day 7 will start on Friday.