The Latest: Utility drops rate hike plans after project ends

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on the collapse of plans to build two new nuclear reactors in South Carolina (all times local):

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11:10 a.m.

The state-owned utility Santee Cooper has dropped plans for rate increases in the next two years, after it cancelled plans to finish two new nuclear reactors in South Carolina.

Company leaders in Moncks Corner said Friday they will no longer seek increases of 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent that had been planned to help pay for the now-abandoned reactors.

Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. announced July 31 they were giving up on new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station northwest of Columbia. The two utilities had already spent $9 billion, much of it paid from their customers.

Santee Cooper CEO Lonnie Carter said it would have had to raise rates by 41 percent to continue with the project.

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10:30 a.m.

A utility executive says his company might not resume work on a failed nuclear project even if was able to get a new partner.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reported SCANA Corp. leader Kevin Marsh told some state lawmakers Thursday night in Charleston that South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. might not want to resume construction on two nuclear reactors even if a replacement was found.

SCE&G and Santee Cooper announced July 31 they were abandoning plans for the Fairfield County reactors after spending about $9 billion.

Gov. Henry McMaster has said he's trying to find a partner to get at least one reactor completed, even if it meant selling the state-owned Santee Cooper.

Marsh said it would take a lot of work to resume the project.