Dominion looking to buy struggling SC energy company

Dominion looking to buy struggling SC energy company

Dominion looking to buy struggling SC energy company

The Palmetto Energy Coalition is a conglomerate of advocates working to provide a voice for SC residents and businesses in the energy debate as they demand relief from paying for the poor decisions of Santee Cooper and SCANA that have cost the state and its taxpayers billions of dollars. SCE&G and Santee Cooper, the state's utility, walked away from the project a year ago after spending $9 billion, outraging customers, regulators and lawmakers. SCANA and its partner in the project, Santee Cooper (Moncks Corner, South Carolina), walked away from the project after spending about $9 billion to build those units over a decade.

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And South Carolina's legislative leaders also are weighing in on the proposed acquisition.

Bart Blackwell (R- Aiken County) and Bill Hixon (R- Aiken and Edgefield Counties) represent South Carolinians on the House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee.

Those players include Gov. Henry McMaster (R), Speaker of the House Jay Lucas (R) and Senate President Pro-Tempore Hugh Leatherman (R).

Dominion looking to buy struggling SC energy company

The expansion, which involved building two new nuclear reactors, started in 2007 and was only 34 percent complete when the work was suspended. "We're still going to be paying for this project for many years to come, and we need to see if they can do better".

The deal must be approved by SCANA's shareholders, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Department of Justice, and receive authorization from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to the utilities. Dominion has also pledged $1.3 billion in refunds to SCE&G's 700,000 SC customers as part of the buy, according to reports from both The Post & Courier and The State.

Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell told reporters Wednesday that there will be only givebacks and ultimately the disappearance altogether of costs related to the debacle of the reactors planned for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. SCE&G customers have paid about $2 billion toward the company's debt on the project. Farrell said if there are more savings from the tax cuts, those also would be passed on to customers.

SCANA has proposed collecting the costs of the project from customers over the next 50 to 60 years.

On a morning investor call, Dominion Chief Executive Tom Farrell said he was "very pleased" about reaction to the deal from SC leaders including Gov. Henry McMaster and House Speaker Jay Lucas. Under current law and regulations, SCE&G customers would still be on the hook for about $3.5 billion for the failed nuclear project. McMaster has called for the sale of state-owned Santee Cooper, and press reports say there are several suitors, including Dominion. "What does it mean to the ratepayers and the future economic development of SC?" "This deal presents more challenges than the average merger, not that there is an average merger - they are all unique - but this one is a little more unique".

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