Dominion Energy Pays $7.9B For Utility Co. SCANA

Dominion Energy Pays $7.9B For Utility Co. SCANA

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 almost $2 billion in costs from a failed nuclear project and result in lower rates and a $1,000 refund for electric customers.

DOMINION ENERGY and fellow energy corporation SCANA have announced that they are to combine in an all-stock merger worth US$14.6bn, including debt.

All residential customers of Scana's South Carolina Electric & Gas utility will get an average cash payment of $1,000 within 90 days of the deal being completed, the companies said in a statement. They also include a more than $1.7 billion write-off of existing VC Summer 2 and 3 capital and regulatory assets, which would never be collected from customers. The combined company would operate 31.4 GW of generating capacity in 18 states from CT to California, delivering power to about 6.5 million regulated customers in eight states.

Scana was earlier funding some projects from SCE&G and this annoyed some of its customers because of which, the utility rolled back electricity rates for its residential users.

SCANA has struggled in recent months after it and Santee Cooper abandoned the construction of two new Westinghouse units at the VC Summer nuclear plant in SC after the bankruptcy and collapse of Westinghouse and huge cost and schedule overruns.

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.

SCE&G and project co-owner Santee Cooper blamed the $9 billion project failure on the bankruptcy by contractor Westinghouse.

Dominion Energy Inc says that it expects the acquisition of SCANA Corporation to be immediately accretive to its earnings. Dominion, like SCANA, will continue to work with Santee Cooper on transferring operating licenses, Farrell said.

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The nuclear project's failure has cost executives of the two companies their jobs.

He also noted that the merger offers myriad benefits to SCANA shareholders, including "the largest utility customer cash refund in history", and would "guarantee a rapidly declining impact from the V.C. Summer project". The deal would give Dominion 6.5 million regulated electric and gas customers in eight states, but is contingent on keeping a state law that allows SCANA to recoup at least some costs for the Summer plant.

Scana being the Carolina- based utility, a year ago had rejected to build two nuclear reactors.

SCANA's stock price has fallen about 40 percent since the nuclear project was canceled, making the company a potential takeover target.

Farrell told analysts that he's already spoken with McMaster and other SC leaders about the deal.

Wednesday's conference call provided more details on an historic acquisition that will change the energy landscape in SC, where SCANA is the only large investor-owned utility headquartered in the Palmetto State.

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

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