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Ratepayers, their lawyers to get $520M

Dominion, Santee Cooper settle suits

Lawyers for Santee Cooper ratepayers are in for a $78 million pay day.

That’s their share of a $520 million settlement Santee Cooper and Dominion Energy agreed to pay their ratepayer clients.

Retired SC Supreme Court Justice Jean Toal approved the amount to reimburse Santee Cooper customers for paying for a failed $9 billion nuclear project.

Ratepayers’ 11 law firms have agreed not to seek more than 15% – $78 million – of the $520 million. 

That leaves $442 million for ratepayers.

Dominion Energy which bought Lexington County-based SCANA and its SC Electric & Gas subsidiary will pay $320 million in cash or securities. 

Santee Cooper will pay $200 million in 3 annual installments of $65 million, $65 million and $70 million.

The judge called the settlement “a fair, reasonable, and adequate resolution.” 

The settlement includes members of Mid-Carolina Electric in Lexington County and 19 other cooperatives. 

SCE&G ratepayers were charged $2 billion and Santee Cooper ratepayers $620 million in rate hikes.

The agreement includes:

  • Santee Cooper agrees to freeze rates with the exception of a cyber security attack or natural disasters.
  • Dominion agrees not to charge its 725,000 SC ratepayers for its costs to settle the class action lawsuit.

Over 9 years of nuclear construction, Santee Cooper hiked electricity rates 5 times and SCE&G 9 times for an estimated $2 billion in costs made possible by a controversial state law.

Public Service Commissioners agreed to let Dominion buy SCANA and let it charge ratepayers another $2.6 billion for the nuclear project they were promised would lower their rates. 

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