It seems safe to say San Antonio electric utility CPS Energy won’t be taking part in the two-reactor expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear plant in Bay City.
The ongoing dispute over rising project costs (from $5 billion to now $18 billion) has devolved to CPS claiming NRG Energy and the firm coordinating the expansion engaged in “fraudulent, defamatory and illegal conduct” to “manipulate project costs for their collective benefit.”
CPS is asking for $32 billion in damages, according to our sister paper the San Antonio Express-News:
“The message I want to send NRG and NINA is that we are not suckers,” CPS Acting General Manager Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley said Wednesday night. “A business solution will benefit both, the sooner we get out of the courts the better. But make no mistake, I am not afraid of having this issue resolved in the courts.”
NINA President Steve Winn said earlier in the day that his company also preferred to settle the lawsuit quickly out of court so it could continue with the development of two proposed reactors at the South Texas Project.
“I think there are probably 20 different ways where there might be a solution that allows the project to go forward and the appropriate long-term decisions to be made by CPS,” Winn said. “Our goal right now is to get to a negotiated outcome as quickly as we can.”
CPS’ new allegations included the charge that NRG and Toshiba formed their partnership without disclosing their full financial relationship.
The city-owned utility also accused NINA, NRG and Toshiba of a “conspiracy” by luring CPS into the project to help finance it and then “engaging in a coordinated public effort to disseminate false information about CPS Energy for the purpose of ousting CPS Energy.”
“His (Winn’s) history has been spent on Wall Street, and I don’t want him to get the impression he can come to San Antonio, Texas, come to Commerce Street, and sell this community a bill of goods,” LeBlanc-Burley said.
A copy of the lawsuit is below: