Utility to buy company behind failed SC nuclear project

Utility to buy company behind failed SC nuclear project
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Utility giant Dominion Energy Inc. agreed Wednesday to acquire Scana Corp. and assume its liabilities from a major nuclear power project in South Carolina that it scrapped last year.

The all-stock deal is worth about $7.9 billion. Dominion agreed to pay customers of Scana $1,000 each, totaling $1.3 billion, due to the costs they incurred from the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station and promised to lower their bills as well.

Scana, a holding company that owns South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., scrapped V.C. Summer, in July, after it put nearly $9 billion into the project with Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility.

It was one of just two nuclear power plants under construction in the United States.

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“We believe this merger will provide significant benefits to SCE&G’s customers, SCANA’s shareholders and the communities Scana serves,” Thomas Farrell, president of Dominion, said in a statement.

“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.”

Scana had funded some of the costs of V.C. Summer with charges on South Carolina ratepayers’ bills.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) applauded the transaction, but said it doesn’t entirely resolve the lingering problems from the nuclear project.

“The only way to resolve this travesty is to sell Santee Cooper,” he said in a statement.