SCANA Corp.is being acquired by a much larger utility based out of Virginia in a deal that would help shield South Carolina Electric and Gas ratepayers from almost $2 billion in costs from a failed nuclear project and result in lower rates and a $1,000 refund for electric customers.
The Dominion Energy proposal includes several incentives aimed at winning regulatory approval, including a $1.3 billion cash payment to South Carolina Electric & Gas customers within 90 days after the merger closes, equal to $1,000 for the average residential customer.
Meanwhile, SCANA chief executive, Jimmy Addison added: "Dominion Energy is a strong, well-regarded company in the utility industry and its commitment to customers and communities aligns well with our values".
In contrast, SCE&G, the S.C. division of SCANA, and Santee Cooper, its partner in the V.C. Summer project, serve about 2.5 million customers.
Cayce-based SCANA, parent of the SCE&G utility, is now saddled with a multi-billion-dollar debt following the scuttled nuclear project with Santee Cooper.
The transaction is valued at about $14.6 billion including the assumption of debt, according to a statement Wednesday.
"The only way to resolve this travesty is to sell Santee Cooper", he said in a statement.
In particular, SC regulators would have to approve Dominion's plan for customer refunds, executives said during a conference call Wednesday morning.
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SCANA Corporation will continue to operate out of its current headquarters in SC after the deal closes. Public service commissions in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia must also review and approve the merger. "There is more work to be done, but today, we are headed in the right direction".
Thomas Farrell - the chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Energy - said the transaction would "lock in significant and immediate savings" for SCE&G customers, including the "largest utility customer cash refund in history".
SCANA's stock price has fallen about 40 percent since the nuclear project was canceled, making the company a potential takeover target. The two projects created approximately 200 temporary construction jobs.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.'s parent company SCANA announced Wednesday it was being acquired by Virginia-based Dominion.
The South Carolina plant and a similar project being built in Georgia represented a next wave of nuclear construction in the USA, using a new Westinghouse reactor design that was meant to curb the cost overruns that had plagued prior nuclear projects.
South Carolina's legislative leaders are weighing in on the proposed acquisition of a troubled SC utility by Dominion Energy.
On Tuesday, Santee Cooper announced without explanation that board chairman Leighton Lord had resigned his position as of December 29.