While Santee Cooper’s millions of direct-serve and electrical cooperative customers await a decision from lawmakers on the future of the state-owned utility, a trial date has been set for the ongoing lawsuit between Santee Cooper and its customers.
Last week, former South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, special Judge Jean Toal, set the trial date for April 20.
The decision was a significant blow to debt-riddled Santee Cooper, which will now give lawyers representing the millions of Santee Cooper customers time to go through tens of thousands of documents that were turned over by Santee Cooper just one day before the trial date was set.
Santee Cooper customers filed the lawsuit in August 2017 seeking refunds for the millions they had already paid and to put an end to the continual payments they were being charged for the failed V.C. Summer project.
For years, customers have paid extra fees on their monthly bills. Santee Cooper spent approximately $4.7 billion on the failed nuclear project and rely only on their customers to pay the company’s debt.
It was just last month that U.S. Judge Terry Wooten sent the lawsuit back to state court to be heard by special Judge Jean Toal.
Judge Toal’s decision also allowed the case to become a class-action lawsuit allowing for many more people to be able to seek refunds. Also in her decision, Judge Toal did not limit the potential monetary penalties and suggested that Santee Cooper should find a way to settle the case so that a trial could be avoided.
Meanwhile, Santee Cooper continues to rack up legal fees to fight back, adding even more to the billions of debt already owed and being paid by its customers.