Potential cost overruns are a sensitive topic for this monster project because there are rules over who will pay for them. Any increase taking the cost up to $10.3 billion is split 50-50 between Dominion and its customers. But beyond and up to $13.7 billion, Dominion pays it all. Beyond that, who pays what will be up to the SCC.

By an amazing coincidence, $13.7 billion is a 40% increase in cost, which now looks entirely possible. If that happened, Dominion would be on the hook for almost $4 billion, a big risk indeed.

I can find no disclosure of this risk to the public, to investors, or to the Virginia or Federal Authorities that oversee this monster project.

Even if Dominion already has fixed-price future contracts for all the construction and equipment, the risk is still there. As Barron’s says: “Financially, the industry is teetering, with a parade of companies planning to renegotiate or pull out of contracts, jeopardizing plans for projects….”

Under these dire circumstances, all long-term, big-dollar contracts are risky. Companies go bankrupt or renege to keep from going bankrupt. Contracts rendered ruinous by cost increases will simply not be met.

I understand this kind of big-dollar risk must be publicly disclosed to stockholders and potential investors. Maybe the SEC should be looking at Dominion’s handling of this huge risk. So should Virginia.

David Wojick, Ph.D., is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy.