South Carolina PSC signs off on fixed price, updated schedule for new nuclear units

The Public Service Commission of South Carolina voted Nov. 9 to a settlement agreement entered into by South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA (NYSE:SCG), the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff and other parties concerning updated costs and construction schedules for two new nuclear units.

The utility had filed a petition with the PSC the construction and capital cost schedules for V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 being built in Jenkinsville, South Carolina. 

The PSC has now approved the utility’s updated construction cost of between $6.8bn and $7.7bn, depending on how the price is calculated.

The South Carolina PSC also approved SCE&G’s election of the fixed price option provided for in the October 2015 Amendment to SCE&G’s engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreement with Westinghouse Electric Co.

The SCANA utility is the majority owner of the nuclear facility with Santee Cooper being the minority partner. Westinghouse is the EPC vendor on the project following its acquisition of the nuclear subsidiary of Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI). 

The approved construction schedule designates guaranteed substantial completion dates of August 2019 and August 2020 for Units 2 and 3, respectively. 

The approved capital cost schedule includes incremental capital costs that total $831m (SCE&G’s 55% portion in 2007 dollars). The total project capital cost is now estimated at $6.8bn (SCE&G’s 55% portion in 2007 dollars) or $7.7bn including escalation and allowance for funds used during construction (SCE&G’s 55% portion in future dollars).  Also, the allowed Return on Equity (ROE) for the new nuclear project will be revised to 10.25% and will be applied prospectively for the purpose of calculating revised rates sought by SCE&G under the Base Load Review Act on and after Jan. 1, 2017, until such time as the new nuclear units are completed. 

Additionally, SCE&G will not file future requests to amend capital cost schedules prior to Jan. 28, 2019.

Other parties to the just-approved settlement include Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Central Electric Cooperative, the South Carolina Energy Users Committee, and Frank Knapp, Jr.

Roughly 4,000 workers were engaged in construction of the two 1,100-MW AP 1000 reactors this fall, the plant owners said recently.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at