On at atomic two occasions, SCE&G carefully active damaging letters that could accept prompted the S.C. Public Service Agency to actively check or aish the Cayce-based utility’s $9 billion nuclear architecture project, those commissioners were told Friday.
Gary Jones, a adviser with added than 45 years of acquaintance in nuclear power, told the agency that SCE&G deceptively hid a sobering, $1 actor address on the project’s flaws and abandoned its own employees’ projections of how abundant the floundering activity would amount to finish.
Instead, Jones said, SCE&G fed accompaniment regulators ever optimistic and unrealistic projections, which it never achieved, afore the account and its boyhood partner, the state-owned Santee Cooper utility, canceled the long-delayed and over-budget architecture of two new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in July 2017.
“The accent and appulse of this abortion to acknowledge cannot be overemphasized,” said Jones, a key attestant in the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff’s accomplishment to actuate the PSC to carve SCE&G’s nuclear-related electric rates.
Jones testified for added than bristles hours Friday, the additional day of a weeks-long PSC audition that will set SCE&G’s new ante and adjudge who — the utility’s owners, barter or both — will accept to pay off its about $5 billion in architecture debt. The hearings additionally adjudge whether Virginia-based Dominion Energy finalizes its proposed buyout of SCE&G’s ancestor company, SCANA.
Jones, who monitored the V.C. Summer activity for Regulatory Staff, is key to the accompaniment agency’s case that SCE&G carefully addled Regulatory Staff and the PSC about the project’s flaws in adjustment to accumulate the decade-long accomplishment alive, and revenues and controlling bonuses flowing.
SCE&G’s attorneys, meanwhile, accept approved to appearance that Regulatory Staff was able-bodied acquainted of the project’s flaws and is authoritative SCE&G a dupe now that the activity has failed. SCE&G blames the project’s collapse on advance architect Westinghouse — for declaring defalcation in March 2017 — and Santee Cooper — for affairs out of the activity in July 2017.
During about two hours of analytic by SCE&G alfresco advocate Jonathan Chally, Jones conceded he and added Regulatory Staff advisers knew of problems at the Fairfield County architecture site.
Those problems included some of the issues aloft in a February 2016 address by the San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp. civilian engineering firm, Jones said. But regulators didn’t apperceive Bechtel had offered a austere criticism about the project’s architecture delays, one that was removed afore the close issued its final report, Jones said.
In a abstract adaptation of that report, Bechtel said the accompanying reactors acceptable would not be completed in time to authorize for billions of dollars in federal tax break bare to acquit the V.C. Summer project’s massive cost.
Jones testified SCE&G never angry over Bechtel’s address — with that admonishing — to regulators, cogent him there was no address at all.
“I was told by SCE&G, in response, that annihilation new had been articular (by Bechtel), that the appraisal was done at a actual aerial akin and that the aftereffect wasn’t accepted by those in attendance, and that there would not be a accounting report,” Jones testified Friday. ”We accept after abstruse … that this advice was false.”
Jones additionally backed up accounting affidavit by two above SCE&G advisers that the utility’s admiral abandoned projections that the architecture activity would amount $500 actor added than its contractors were estimating.
SCE&G knew the contractors had provided a low-ball, unrealistic amount but filed that cardinal with the PSC anyhow in 2015, Jones said.
“Unfortunately, SCE&G was acknowledged in artful me as able-bodied as the PSC and ORS,” Jones testified.
The audition will resume Monday, with SCE&G’s advocate continuing to catechism Jones.
Reach Wilks at 803-771-8362. Follow him on Twitter @AveryGWilks.
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