The Latest: Legislators call for refunds from nuke project

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on the abandonment of a nuclear reactor project in South Carolina (all times local):

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1:15 p.m.

South Carolina legislators want to bar SCE&G from continuing to collect money for a now-scuttled multibillion-dollar nuclear power project customers have been paying for since 2009.

A bipartisan group of legislators announced Wednesday the creation of an Energy Caucus that will work to overhaul how utility requests are reviewed.

South Carolina Electric & Gas and state-owned Santee Cooper decided Monday to abandon construction of two nuclear reactors. A project accounts for 18 percent of SCE&G's residential electric bills. Utility executives said Tuesday none will get refunded. They are seeking permission from state regulators to recoup an additional $5 billion over 60 years.

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Legislators created the system allowing that to happen in 2007.

But Energy Caucus members say the utility's request should be rejected, and customers should be refunded.

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3:30 a.m.

South Carolina legislators are calling for an overhaul in the review of utility projects following the abandonment of two nuclear reactors residents have been funding since 2009.

A bipartisan group of legislators are announcing Wednesday the creation of an energy caucus.

Rep. James Smith says the "catastrophic" end of the project north of Columbia shows the current regulatory process doesn't adequately protect South Carolinians.

The project's owners, SCE&G and state-owned Santee Cooper, decided Monday to end construction following the bankruptcy filing of its main contractor.

The project accounts for 18 percent of SCE&G's and more than 8 percent of Santee Cooper's residential electric bills.

A 2007 state law allows electric utilities to collect money from customers to finance a project before it generates power and recoup costs even if it's never operational.