The South Carolina Supreme Court has assigned retired Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal to oversee all pretrial motions and other pretrial matters involving litigation addressing the customer reimbursement due to abandonment of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Project.
Toal replaces 16th Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes, who was assigned to oversee the outstanding and future litigation regarding customer-related reimbursement claims related to the failed construction of the nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer facility. An order by the court in October 2017 assigned Hayes to superintend the claims from customers who requested reimbursements or refunds of money they paid in increased utility rates since SCE&G and Santee Cooper stopped construction on the V.C. Summer project in July of that year.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Beatty issued the order Sept. 11 announcing that Toal was vested with exclusive jurisdiction to hear and dispose of the pretrial motions or matters related to customer reimbursement claims. Toal’s jurisdiction also includes presiding over the trial of the case or she may assign it to another circuit judge.
Toal may also require mediation in any case at any time in the proceeding that she considers appropriate. The order is effective immediately.
In June, a $2.2 billion class-action settlement was finalized that provided for former SCE&G ratepayers to receive money back that they were billed to pay for construction on the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. As much as $146 million was sent to qualified customers this summer in refund checks and adjusted bill reductions.
The settlement included a permanent 15 percent reduction for customers of SCE&G, now a subsidiary of Virginia-based Dominion Energy. The deal replaced an original proposal by Dominion that would have given SCE&G customers a one-time refund of $1,000.
After spending billions of dollars to build two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, SCE&G and project co-owner Santee Cooper abandoned the project in July 2017 in the face of mounting delays, rising costs, and contractor Westinghouse’s bankruptcy declaration. In January, SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA, was acquired by Dominion Energy and was named Dominion Energy South Carolina.