A deal with Virginia-based Dominion Energy could mean $1.3 billion in refunds for customers of a troubled SC utility who have been funding a failed nuclear reactor project.
Dominion said it would pay SCE&G's customers $1.3 billion, averaging about $1,000 for each residential customer, within 90 days of the deal's closure. The company would deliver energy to approximately 6.5 million regulated customer accounts in eight states and have an electric generating portfolio of 31,400 megawatts and 93,600 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines.
The average residential customer will get a $1,000 payment and a 5 percent reduction in power bills, Farrell said.
The merger announcement did not state what would happen with V.C. Summer unit 1, an existing nuclear reactor that SCE&G owns with Santee Cooper. The deal proposes an initial rebate to SCE&G electricity customers for part of the money already paid for the V.C. Summer nuclear reactor construction debacle.More news: Obama Foundation files plans for presidential library in Chicago
SCE&G and project co-owner Santee Cooper blamed the $9 billion project failure on the bankruptcy by contractor Westinghouse. The companies said including debt the deal is worth about $14.6 billion.
"The only way to resolve this travesty is to sell Santee Cooper", he said. Customers now are paying about 18 percent of their monthly bills for the failed project. There also are potential benefits to natural gas customers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia and to their communities.
Scana CEO Jimmy Addison said joining with Dominion Energy would "provides resources that will enable us to once again focus on our core operations and best serve our customers".
SCANA Corporation will continue to operate out of its current headquarters in SC after the deal closes. "There is more work to be done, but today, we are headed in the right direction".More news: NFL Playoffs: Vikings vs Saints Analyst Pick
In particular, SC regulators would have to approve Dominion's plan for customer refunds, executives said during a conference call Wednesday morning.
Dominion Energy's chairman, president and CEO Thomas Farrell said that the acquisition will add to the company's presence in the southeast of the U.S. and cement its position as one of the largest energy companies in the country. "It would lock in significant and immediate savings for SCE&G customers - including what we believe is the largest utility customer cash refund in history - and guarantee a rapidly declining impact from the V.C. Summer project", he said in a statement.
South Carolina's legislative leaders are weighing in on the proposed acquisition of a troubled SC utility by Dominion Energy.
The nuclear project's failure has cost executives of the two companies their jobs.More news: Bell says he'd consider retirement if tagged again
Scana made an attractive target as the company's market value plummeted after the utility halted a controversial nuclear expansion in late July.
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