Former SCANA exec pleads guilty in Summer fraud case

Stephen A. Byrne, former executive vice president of SCANA Corporation, pleaded guilty in federal court on July 23 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the failed $9-billion nuclear-expansion project at South Carolina’s Summer plant.

Byrne, 60, had also been president of generation and transmission and chief operating officer at SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas, overseeing all of SCANA’s nuclear operations, including the construction of the new nuclear units, on which work was stopped in 2017 (NN, Aug. 2017, p. 17).

Santee Cooper, Dominion agree to pay $520 million in Summer suit

A circuit court judge on July 20 gave final approval to a $520-million settlement in a class action civil suit brought against Santee Cooper over alleged deceptive business practices involving the failed nuclear-expansion project at South Carolina’s Summer plant.

Santee Cooper was the junior partner to SCANA Corporation’s South Carolina Electric and Gas in the two-reactor project, which was canceled in July 2017 (NN, Aug. 2017, p. 17). In July 2019, SCANA became a wholly owned subsidiary of Virginia-based Dominion Energy (NN, Feb. 2019, p. 15).

According to the lawsuit, brought by ratepayers, Santee Cooper raised rates to cover the increasing costs of the Summer expansion even after becoming aware that the project was no longer viable.