Dominion Energy To Buy SCANA, Absorb Costs Of Failed Nuclear Project


Dominion Energy Inc. has struck a deal to buy troubled energy company Scana an all-stock transaction valued at about $7.66 billion and absorb some of the costs of Scana's failed SC nuclear project.

The proposed merger hinges on approvals by SCANA's shareholders, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)/the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and authorization of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Dominion announced Wednesday it would make immediate cash payments of up to $1,000 for the average SCE&G customer within 90 days of closing its purchase of the company. How that payment would be delivered will be announced later, according to the release.

The all-stock deal is worth about $7.9 billion.

Dominion also plans to write off $1.7 billion in losses tied to the VC Summer project in Fairfield County. The proposal would then require that a typical customer continue to pay 13% of their monthly bill for a period of 20 years, with full profits on the remaining abandoned nuclear project costs.

Dominion expects the deal to close in the third quarter of this year. SCANA's troubles intensified in September, when South Carolina's attorney general's office and state lawmakers urged state law enforcement to conduct a criminal investigation on how it handled the project.

SCANA would operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dominion Energy, and maintain its Cayce, South Carolina headquarters.

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Dominion now serves about 2.5 million electric customers in Virginia and North Carolina and 2.3 million gas customers in Idaho, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Dominion-SCE&G deal still must be approved by state and federal regulators.

Environmentalists say a deal to acquire a troubled SC utility "falls far short of protecting ratepayers" from absorbing costs of a failed nuclear construction deal.

SCANA and state-owned Santee Cooper began construction began five years ago on two new reactors at the Summer nuclear plant. The Securities and Exchange Commission, too, has subpoenaed records from SCANA and Santee Cooper. This deal is not contingent in any way upon an outcome of Santee Cooper.

Farrell told analysts that he's already spoken with McMaster and other SC leaders about the deal. But this doesn't resolve the issue.

House Speaker Jay Lucas said in a statement Wednesday that the SCANA acquisition is "an interesting starting point" but more fixes are needed.

On Tuesday, Santee Cooper announced without explanation that board chairman Leighton Lord had resigned his position as of December 29. 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. "There is more work to be done, but today, we are headed in the right direction".