SCANA lawsuit may signal the death of (new) nuclear power plants

A scam this big can only last so long:

A civil fraud class action lawsuit brought by shareholders against SCANA and its former top executives over the failure of its $9 billion nuclear power plant project in Fairfield County was settled Thursday for $192.5 million.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017, several months after SCANA and its junior partner in the ill-fated nuclear venture, Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility, announced on July 31 of that year they were abandoning the project that they had been promoting for years as a successful effort on the way to completion. The utilities also had been charging customers in advance for the unfinished nuclear reactors.

Bolding mine, because justice may not have been served yet. That last sentence refers to CWIP (Construction Work In Progress), a process that was shunned 30+ years ago, but utilities brought it back because nobody would loan them money for new nuke plants anymore. The shareholders got their settlement, but I have yet to see anything about ratepayers being reimbursed for their money collected. There should also be some criminal charges on deck, because this behavior is definitely fraudulent:

However, after the abandonment, facts came to light that showed that some of SCANA’s top executives had known for more than a year that the project was likely to fail and kept that information from the public, shareholders and regulatory agencies.

So all that money collected from ratepayers (for over a year) was done so with the knowledge it was not legitimate. Might as well just pick their damn pockets. Back to the only people who (apparently) really matter, the stockholders:

Under securities laws, publicly traded companies such as SCANA are supposed to be open and honest with shareholders so the stock price will reflect any bad as well as good news.

As news of SCANA’s fiasco surfaced in newspapers, the company’s stock price dropped from more than $60 per share down to around $40 per share.

SCANA is now defunct, having been acquired by Dominion Energy in January 2019. Dominion, as successor company, will pay the settlement money. SCANA’s corporate death was directly linked to the failure of its nuclear project.

Way back in the day I came across SCANA while researching Richard Burr's campaign donations, and they gave him quite a bit. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but one of Burr's (several) PACs got some $50,000 from SCANA. Or I guess I should say he got that money from the ripped-off South Carolina power customers.

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