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Senate panel OKs bills dealing with SC nuke problems

COLUMBIA (AP) With time running out, a South Carolina Senate committee has passed bills that lawmakers say protect ratepayers and fixes the underlying problems that led to abandoning construction on two new nuclear reactors.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed proposals May 1 that would provide an advocate who would work on behalf of ratepayers when the Public Service Commission sets utility rates.

The committee amended the bill to allow the advocate to see some information utilities consider private if commission members decide it could help the public.

Committee members say another bill passed will expedite reviews of SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper and let them know they are being watched.

The bills were passed by the House in January. They head to the Senate floor, where just five days remain to consider them.

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