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Company responsible for V.C. Summer nuclear debacle to pay $21 Million to low income ratepayers

Westinghouse had been owned by Toshiba when the U.S. Attorney’s Office says they participated...
Westinghouse had been owned by Toshiba when the U.S. Attorney’s Office says they participated in criminal misconduct surrounding the failed construction of two new nuclear units at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant.(WRDW)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 11:14 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Westinghouse Electric Company, the business hired by SCANA to build the now defunct V.C. Summer nuclear power plant, will reimburse low income ratepayers with $21.25 million.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina says the Westinghouse Electric Company is cooperating with their investigation after abandoning the nuclear project and passing into new ownership.

Westinghouse had been owned by Toshiba when the U.S. Attorney’s Office says they participated in criminal misconduct surrounding the failed construction of two new nuclear units at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant.

Acting United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina M. Rhett DeHart says federal charges are pending against former Westinghouse manager Carl Churchman and former Westinghouse Senior Vice President for New Plants and Major Projects Jeffrey A. Benjamin.

DeHart says Benjamin will be arraigned in federal court Tuesday.

Through Toshiba, DeHart says Westinghouse has satisfied $2.168 billion in settlement payments related to the V.C. Summer project, including $1.032 billion to SCANA, $976 million to Santee Cooper, and $160 million to pay various contractor liens.

Toshiba sold Westinghouse after the nuclear project was abandoned and the nuclear company was purchased by private equity group Brookfield Business Partners in 2017.

DeHart says a new agreement with a restructured Westinghouse Electric Company specifies that Westinghouse will contribute an initial $5 million within 30 days to the South Carolina Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and a final payment of $16.25 million would be paid by Westinghouse by July 1, 2022.

The South Carolina Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program was chosen to receive the funds so they could help certain ratepayers affected by the project’s failure, DeHart said.

As part of the Westinghouse restructuring, DeHart says Brookfield Business Partners removed, reassigned, or re-trained Westinghouse senior management and elected new members to the Board of Directors. DeHart says they also restructured and re-trained the company’s finance organization, established a global financial controls function, implemented new controls over financial reporting and adopted a global ethics code.

DeHart says the introduction of elected independent directors for Westinghouse’s audit committee, and a corporate controller position will help their new whistleblower program to provide employees with the ability to raise concerns without fear of retaliation.

“Our office continues to seek justice for the victims of the V.C. Summer Project failure,” DeHart said. “Westinghouse’s cooperation is vital to our ongoing efforts to hold accountable the individuals most responsible for this debacle. More than $21 million in new low-income ratepayer relief is a strong sign of our commitment to assist those most affected.”

DeHart says the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and Westinghouse have reached a similar cooperation agreement.

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