SC court rejects nuclear plant-related rate hike

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's highest court says SCE&G customers should not have to pay for a contingency fund to cover costs the company may incur while building nuclear reactors.

The state Supreme Court ruled Monday that regulators overstepped their authority when they approved the rate increase because such a price hike can't pay for contingency costs.

Opponents had argued the $438 million fund should not be included in the company's construction estimates.

The contingency costs were included in a rate increase regulators approved last year. The company is charging electricity customers an average of 2.5% more each year over 10 years to help pay for the $10 billion project in Jenkinsville.

SCE&G is building the reactors with state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.