The latest episode in the continuing saga of the failed nuclear expansion project at South Carolina’s Summer plant played out in federal court last week when the former chief executive officer of SCANA, Kevin Marsh, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud. According to the state attorney general’s office, Marsh will serve two years of a 10-year sentence, followed by three years of probation, provided he continues to cooperate with prosecutors. Marsh will also part with $5 million, which is to be used to help low-income ratepayers with their utility bills.
“This case is a good example of the power of our state grand jury and how our office uses it to hold the powerful accountable,” said South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson. “While this criminal proceeding is not meant to repay the customers who spent billions of dollars on nuclear plants that were never finished, we hope they take some comfort from the fact that the former CEO of SCANA has pled guilty for his role in this debacle. A public utility and its officers must serve the public.”
Damaged brands: In 2017, SCANA and minority partner Santee Cooper abandoned their $9 billion effort to build two additional reactors at the single-unit Summer site in Jenkinsville, S.C. The scuttling of the project, widely viewed as one of the biggest business failures in the state’s history, greatly damaged the brands of the two companies. While SCANA was acquired by Dominion Energy in 2019, the ultimate fate of state-owned Santee Cooper—specifically, whether to sell it or reform it—has yet to be decided.