Dominion Energy Pays $7.9B For Utility Co. SCANA

Dominion Pounces on Scana's Nuclear Woes

Dominion Energy Inc said on Wednesday it would buy Scana Corp in an all-stock deal worth about $7.9 billion, offering the utility a way out of dealing with unhappy customers and federal investigations following a failed nuclear project.

On January 3, 2018, Dominion Energy and SCANA announced that Dominion has instigated a takeover of SCANA, a South Carolina-based utility.

That said, by agreeing to merge with Dominion, ratepayers in SC would see significant savings because Dominion would write off more than $1.7 billion of the failed-project's cost.

For Dominion, the deal will bolster its size, with the combined company serving 6.5 million electric and natural gas customers in eight states. Customers would also get an estimated 5% rate reduction, equal to more than $7 a month.

SCANA has been reeling since announcing last summer its subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., was abandoning construction of two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

Farrell II said in a press conference today that partial refunds would go to ratepayers following several rate increases by South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) after start of the now-failed V.C. Summer nuclear plant project.

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The plant was originally estimated to cost less than $12 billion, but mismanagement and problems with reactor design from contractor Westinghouse pushed final cost estimates to $25 billion.

"The take-it-or-leave-it deal falls far short of protecting ratepayers from absorbing the costs of the nuclear fiasco, while replacing the unneeded nuclear plant with unnecessary natural gas capacity instead of cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives", Friends of the Earth said in a release Wednesday. Officials said the deal could mean $1.3 billion in refunds SCE&G customers, including immediate $1,000 cash payments within 90 days of closing its purchase of the company. Dominion, like SCANA, will continue to work with Santee Cooper on transferring operating licenses, Farrell said. Customers now are paying about 18 percent of their monthly bills for the failed project.

In particular, SC regulators would have to approve Dominion's plan for customer refunds, executives said during a conference call Wednesday morning. "We are happy to provide South Carolina Electric & Gas additional renewable resources and help an excellent corporate citizen in Solvay reduce its carbon intensity". Public service commissions in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia must also review and approve the merger.

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 USA and cement its position as one of the largest energy companies in the country. This is to offset payments customers have made towards costs incurred by SCE&G over the VC Summer nuclear plant in SC.

Ademi & O'Reilly, LLP is investigating the Board of Directors of SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG) for possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of SC law in connection with the sale of SCANA to Dominion. As a merged entity, the two companies will also complete a $180 million purchase of the gas-fired Columbia Energy Center "at no cost to customers", to ensure reliability.

On Tuesday, Santee Cooper announced without explanation that board chairman Leighton Lord had resigned his position as of December 29.

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