Lexington County Chronicle
December 20, 2018
600 SCE&G jobs could be protected
By Jerry Bellune
Up to 600 SCANA employees may hang on to their jobs at least another year.
Appeals to last week’s Public Service Commission approval of a Dominion Energy takeover may delay the sale up to a year.
Experts have said that up to 600 employees, all living or working in Lexington County, could lose their jobs when Dominion takes over SC Electric & Gas.
“After we get the final order Friday, there will be a discussion about an appeal to the PSC,” said Small Business Chamber of Commerce CEO Frank Knapp, Jr.
“Apparently we have 10 days to do that. This would throw a wrench into Dominion’s purchase time schedule for months if not more than a year,” he said.
Tom Clements of Friends of the Earth said his group and the Sierra Club will decide on an appeal after they see the PSC order Friday.
“It is most unfortunate that [House] Speaker Jay Lucas put his political finger on the scale, causing the PSC, appointed by the legislature, to do his bidding.
“He and other politicians negatively influenced the process, to the detriment of SCE&G customers.”
Knapp said former Public Service Commissioner Scott Elliott had proposed in 2017 that ratepayers should not pay any of the construction costs of the failed project.
Elliott said SCE&G had asked the PSC to let it build its nuclear plants under the Base Load Review Act.
SCE&G executives could have chosen an alternate law that offered more protection to ratepayers and fewer benefits to themselves.
SCE&G took advantage of all benefits under the BLRA, but ratepayers will never see a kilowatt of electricity or promised savings.
This put SCE&G out of compliance with the BLRA law, the Office of Regulatory Staff told the PSC.
It then should not be able to use the BLRA abandonment section to charge ratepayers for construction costs plus 10.25% in profit.
Having elected to use the BLRA benefits, Elliott says that SCE&G legally can’t recover losses on the project from ratepayers at all.
Dominion would then truly walk leaving SCE&G to struggle through the debt on its own but remain a South Carolina company with all its employees.