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 nearly $2 billion in costs from a failed nuclear project and result in lower rates and a $1,000 refund for electric customers.
SCANA and Dominion Energy announced the deal today in a stock-for-stock merger worth $14.6 billion, according to a news release from SCANA. The deal is subject to numerous approvals, from the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the public service commissions of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina.
Dominion, based in Richmond, Va. and operating in 18 states, would make a $1.3 billion payment within 90 days to SCE&G’s electric customers that would be worth $1,000 to the average customer, according to the release. How that payment would be delivered will be announced later, according to the release. Customers would also see a 5 percent reduction as a result of refunding $575 million already collected from them, as well as savings from the reduction in the corporate tax rate, according to the release. The reduction would be worth about $7 a month for the average customer, according to the press release.
There would also be a write-off of $1.7 billion from the cost of the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear site project that sought to add two new nuclear reactors but was abandoned last year by SCE&G, money that would never be collected from ratepayers. SCE&G and its partner Santee Cooper spent $9 billion on that project before abandoning it and shuttering the project. It accounted for about 18 percent of customer bills before the changes were announced.