State: Law allowing rate hikes ‘constitutionally suspect’

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – One of South Carolina’s top prosecutors says a state law used by utilities to raise customers’ rates to fund a now-defunct nuclear project is “constitutionally suspect.”

Solicitor General Bob Cook made that assertion about the 2007 Base Load Review Act in an opinion obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

A bipartisan trio of lawmakers recently asked prosecutors to study the 2007 law, which allowed South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and Santee Cooper to repeatedly request rate increases to fund the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station project.

The companies abandoned the venture earlier this year, after charging more than $2 billion to ratepayers.

The state Supreme Court rejected a 2014 challenge to the law. Attorney general’s opinions carry no legal heft of their own but generally represent the position of the state.

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