A Tweet caught our eye. It says, “Santee Cooper settlement check really coming in clutch for the holidays.” It shows a check for 3-cents. Hard to miss the irony on this and other payouts. Let’s pick through the numbers.

Most customers will see more than three pennies. Customer refunds will average $169.28, resulting from a legal settlement in the failed VC Summer nuclear project. Santee Cooper and Dominion agreed to pay back $525 million.  The lawyers take their cut off the top, leaving about $300 million for customers.

Oh, we also saw this: “86,804 customers will receive a bill credit (for an active account with an award less than $25) averaging $12.14.” (Source) Far from $169.

$169.28 on average is better than three pennies, but here’s the thing: Save that refund! You’ll need it to help pay back the rest of Santee Cooper’s debt. That is is still nearly $7 billion.  Santee Cooper can only get that money back from customers. So, Santee Cooper will need that check back.

Lest you think Santee Cooper has turned the corner – South Carolina Speaker Jay Lucas just recently had to reprimand Santee Cooper again for skirting transparency and accountable management.

But it is the contrast of what customers get back versus what is owed by consumers on nuclear debt … getting some money back from what customers already paid. Dollars turned into cents, but not sense.