On Saturday, SCANA and SCE&G announced that they have reached an agreement with plaintiffs in a recent class-action lawsuit regarding the utility aborting the VC Summer nuclear project, back in 2017. The defendants in this case, of course, are SCANA Corporation and South Carolina Electric & Gas while the plaintiffs are Richard Lightsey, LeBrian Cleckley, and Phillip Cooper. The three plaintiffs headed up the class-action suit after SCANA left the Fairfield County nuclear site in August 2017, citing that SCANA and partner (Santee Cooper) knowingly concealed certain data that might suggest the eventual failure of the nuclear project.
The lawsuit also addressed arguments related to something called “The Base Load Review Act” as well as several large bonuses SCANA executives had received during that time—again, especially since there was some evidence that the plant might not succeed at all.
The settlement awards the plaintiffs (and those they represent) $2 billion; but SCE&G will also receive $115 million which, reportedly, had been set aside for the SCANA executives, now that they are sure to be ousted from their posts. Before they can finalize this settlement, though, the plan must be approved by a judge; and the South Carolina Public Service Commission must also approve the Virgina-based Dominion Energy’s proposal to buyout SCANA (which is SCE&G’s parent company).
All in all, then, the settlement includes:
- $2 billion in future rate relief over a certain amount of time, which will be determined at the conclusion of a hearing before the Public Service Commission, which began last month
- $115 million in cash (the full value of the SCANA executive trust that was created in 2018)
- The administrative transfer of SCE&G-owned real estate and/or sale proceeds from the selling of real properties which could include—and may not be limited to—Ramsey Grove Plantation, the Original Charleston Gas & Light Building, and various Otarre properties in Cayce.
It should also be noted that some SCE&G customer—current or former—are eligible for payment or for credit. This aspect of the case, however, is also still awaiting final approval from a judge before they can distribute the money. And this approval is pending the still in-transit SCANA and Dominion Energy merger.