Attorney General Alan Wilson asks Court to limit attorneys’ fees in SCANA case and give ratepayers rebates

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – May 8, 2019 – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is asking the courts to reduce the legal fees requested by the lawyers for SCE&G ratepayers and instead give more money to the ratepayers. The response was filed in court late Tuesday.

 

Attorneys who represented SCE&G’s ratepayers have asked the Court for $63.5 million in contingency fees and costs for their lawsuit against SCANA over its failed nuclear reactors project. That lawsuit led to a $2.2 billion settlement that includes at least $115 million in refunds to SCE&G ratepayers.

 

In the filing, the attorney general says, “The State respectfully requests that, in considering the Application for fees for Class Counsel, this Court set a fee most favorable to ratepayers. In doing so, the State respectfully requests that this Court strongly consider the State’s substantial contribution to this case. In our humble opinion, the State was a driving force in settlement. That contribution should reduce the amount of the fees going to Class Counsel and thereby, in effect, provide a rebate to ratepayers.”

 

The filing also points out that, even though the State of South Carolina was a defendant in the lawsuit, it was the Attorney General’s Office that contended even before the lawsuit that the Base Load Review Act is unconstitutional as applied to ratepayers. It was the Base Load Review Act that allowed SCE&G to charge ratepayers more than $2 billion for reactors that were not running and were never finished. The Court agreed that the BLRA is unconstitutional as it was applied to SCE&G ratepayers.

 

The attorney general’s filing goes on to say, “The State’s pressing the issue of the unconstitutionality of the BLRA was thus a major factor in the ultimate resolution of this case. Accordingly, in setting fees, the Court should reduce the fees going to class counsel by an amount reflecting this contribution of the State. In making this reduction, this Court will, in effect, provide a rebate to ratepayers consistent with the State’s contribution. Ratepayers deserve fair and equitable treatment in light of the entire BLRA fiasco. Ratepayers certainly deserve to have the State’s considerable contribution in this case rebated to them. The State respectfully requests that any award of fees be in an amount most favorable to ratepayers.”

 

You can read the filing here

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