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Utility Liable to Customers for Failed Nuclear Costs?

We’re following the progress of a big case in our southern neighboring state on who pays for nuclear utilities’ big mistakes.

A group of South Carolina electric customers are suing the Santee Cooper state-owned utility for billions of dollars paid in power bills for a failed nuclear plant that was never finished. They’re asking the state court hearing the case to certify it as a class action — meaning each of the company’s ratepayers could recover the extra charges they paid.

Last week, the judge rejected Santee Cooper’s motions to cap the damages or to reject the class action petition. While it’s still early, both rulings bode well for ratepayers’ chances of recovery. A federal court already rejected Santee Cooper’s request to move the case from state to federal court.

The outcome of this case should be of interest to utilities already leery of the wisdom of sinking yet more billions into the economically failed technology of commercial nuclear fission reactors. It will also interest ratepayers in North Carolina fighting against being charged for the costs of cleaning up Duke’s coal ash mismanagement.

We’re pulling for good results for our ratepaying neighbors down south.

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