Customers of South Carolina’s public utility Santee Cooper and electric cooperatives who paid toward the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project are starting to get their refunds in the mail.
Those who are still customers of either the cooperatives or Santee Cooper and have refunds of less than $25 will get a credit toward their bills. Customers with a refund of more than $25 will get checks, said Mollie Gore, spokeswoman for Santee Cooper. And South Carolinians who are no longer customers of Santee Cooper or the cooperatives will also get checks.
The money is part of a $520 million class action lawsuit settlement that stems from the failed $9 billion V.C. Summer nuclear plant project in Fairfield County. Customers paid toward the project, which fell behind schedule and reported cost overruns before it was abandoned.
The refunds were scheduled to go out this week to more than 1.6 million customers, averaging at about $169.28, said former state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, an attorney who worked on the settlement.
“What is most important is that the money that was wrongfully taken from South Carolinians will no longer be kept by the utility companies, but returned to the customers where it belongs,” Sheheen said in a statement.
Before the project went under, Santee Cooper partnered with Cayce-based SCANA to build two nuclear reactors at the Fairfield plant. SCANA was eventually bought by Dominion, which contributed $320 million toward the settlement for SCANA customers.
Gore said Santee Cooper is contributing $200 million in three installments toward the settlement. Santee Cooper customers also are slated to receive an additional refund in late 2022, Gore said.
As part of the settlement, Santee Cooper agreed to a four-year rate freeze.