South Carolina

SCANA didn’t ask $1.8M nuclear consultant for timecards, progress reports, docs show

SCANA’s former chief executive was paid $1.8 million to consult on the utility’s failed nuclear construction project without ever filing progress reports or time cards showing his hours worked, according to documents that The State obtained through an open-records request.

The State first reported on William Timmerman’s consulting contract earlier this month, noting the Cayce-based utility had not produced any records showing what Timmerman did to earn the money.

SCANA says it never asked Timmerman for evidence of his work during his five-year stint as a consultant on the nuclear project, according to correspondence between the Office of Regulatory Staff — the state’s utility watchdog — and SCANA, obtained by The State via the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Regulatory Staff is trying to stop SCANA, the parent company of SCE&G, from charging its electric customers for Timmerman’s fees, now that the $9 billion V.C. Summer expansion project in Fairfield County has gone belly up.

“According to SCE&G, they requested no documents of Timmerman, which could lead one to conclude that no work was expected,” Regulatory Staff spokesman Ron Aiken told The State.

SCANA has said it will respond to Regulatory Staff’s arguments with written testimony later this month but would not comment further.

In its responses to Regulatory Staff, SCANA said its $360,000-a-year contract with Timmerman — which began the day after he retired in November 2011 — stipulated he was not paid hourly. “Therefore, there was no requirement for documentation of hours worked,” the utility said.

Asked for documentation of any “reasonable authorized expenses” Timmerman incurred as a consultant, such as office supplies, SCANA responded it had none.

“The company has not received any such request for reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with the consulting services rendered by Mr. Timmerman,” SCANA told state regulators.

Finally, Regulatory Staff asked SCANA for copies of any written reports prepared by Timmerman that could show his activities as a consultant or progress at the nuclear site.

SCANA replied that, according to its contract with Timmerman, “written reports would be provided as requested by the company.”

And, SCANA added, “The company has not requested any such written reports from Mr. Timmerman.”

SCANA paid $990,000 of Timmerman’s fees. Its minority partner on the abandoned nuclear project — the state-owned Santee Cooper utility — paid the other $810,000.

Timmerman has not responded to a request for comment by The State.

Reach Wilks at 803-771-8362. Follow him on Twitter @AveryGWilks.