South Carolina customers of Santee Cooper, ~2.2 million, may finally see a refund of billions of dollars. Former S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice, Judge Toal – who still oversees cases on the trial level – was appointed by the current Chief Justice Don Beatty to the case. Over 30 lawyers representing various parties in the Santee Cooper action attended Judge Toal’s hearing for the case.
After Judge Toal’s hearing on the case, he set a start date of April 20th for the jury trial to begin. He said it would last no more than three weeks and take place in Greenville, SC, a neutral place where there are few if any customers of Santee Cooper, the former SCE&G, or the rural electric cooperatives with interests in the case. A state judge on Thursday set April 20 as the tentative start date for what could be one of the biggest trials in state history — deciding whether state-owned utility Santee Cooper should refund possibly billions of dollars to some 2.2 million ratepayers.
For years, Santee Cooper’s ratepayers paid extra fees on their monthly bills to pay for the construction project that was completely abandoned in 2017. Santee Cooper was the junior partner on the project with the now former Cayce-based SCE&G, which was acquired by Dominion Energy in January 2019.
There have been several settlements over the abandonment of this project.
- In January, SCE&G investors received a preliminary settlement on the federal lawsuit alleging civil fraud on the part of SCE&G. The former shareholders were seeking $2.7 billion in losses, but the preliminary settlement only slated $192.5 million to them.
- Last summer, a ratepayer lawsuit against the former SCE&G was settled for $146 million in customer refunds and Dominion Energy, who bought SCE&G and its parent company SCANA, also agree to future rate relief for their new customers of $2 billion.