County to see SCE&G in court Friday

WINNSBORO – A lawsuit filed on Nov. 29 by the attorneys for Fairfield County for a temporary injunction against SCE&G/SCANA is scheduled to be heard in Common Pleas Court in Winnsboro on Friday.

The suit calls for the immediate issuance of a temporary injunction based on SCE&G/SCANA’s failure to comply with the terms of the County’s fee-in-lieu contract with SCE&G/SCANA, and also an immediate, temporary restraining order to prevent SCE&G from abandoning the project at V.C. Summer nuclear plant and not protecting the assets at the plant.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair trade practices.

The County claims that SCE&G/SCANA’s expressed intention to abandon the project and dispose of the properties, plus abandoning regulatory permits and licenses by year’s end in order to gain a tax advantage, will deprive the County of determining what potential tax and license fees are or could be due from the property within its jurisdiction and may leave dangerous or potentially dangerous conditions to the County’s citizens.

The suit contends that if regulatory permits or licenses are abandoned, that may deprive the County of the benefit of others completing the project and assuming SCE&G’s obligations to the County per the parties’ agreement.

In a statement issued on Nov. 21, the County stated that, in July of 2010, the County and SCE&G entered into a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement. That gave the utility preferential tax treatment by the County in exchange for future payments of fees by SCE&G to the County once the new nuclear units were generating power.

In reliance on the agreement, according to the statement, Fairfield County undertook a number of long term financial obligations including the issuance of $24 million in bonds to finance multiple construction projects and upgrades in anticipation of SCE&G’s operation of the plants.

The County states that SCE&G’s decision to abandon the projects has left the County with significant obligations that would not have been undertaken but for the company’s representations to the County, according to the statement.

Also, according to the statement, the decision will cost the County millions of dollars of lost revenue from the abandonment of the fee in lieu of taxes agreement.

“The Council owes it to the citizens of our County to do whatever we can to recoup the financial losses created by SCE&G’s decision to abandon the project,” Smith said. “The goal of this litigation is to get the County closer to the position it would have been in had SCE&G/SCANA acted in good faith, diligently completed these projects and not chosen to abandon the construction of the plants,” Smith said.