COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A group of small businesses, environmental groups and community leaders are joining together for the first time to ask South Carolina regulators to reject part of a rate increase to pay for nuclear power plants under construction.

The group called Stop The Blank Check said Monday it wants the Public Service Commission to refuse South Carolina Electric & Gas’s request to pass on $846 million in increased costs.

The Legislature gave SCE&G permission in 2007 to raise rates to pay for the plants before they open. The new group says that law has given SCE&G a blank check.

The new nuclear power plants in Jenkinsville are set to open in 2019 and 2020 will cost an estimated $14 billion, $4 billion more than first thought. They are years behind schedule.