The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff has released its evaluation of Dominion Energy’s $14.6 billion takeover bid of embattled SCANA Corporation and makes an important distinction about a major facet of Dominion’s bid.
The Virginia-based energy giant’s offer includes a $1,000 cash payment to South Carolina Electric & Gas customers who have been paying part of their monthly bill toward completion of the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.
But the ORS calculates that since March 2009 the average residential SCE&G customer has paid $1,406.83 toward the nuclear expansion, which is now abandoned. That’s a $406.83 shortfall on what Dominion is offering.
Under Dominion’s proposal, SCE&G customers will pay a 13% surcharge on rates to pay down the V.C. Summer reactors as opposed to the 18% surcharge in effect now. That rate would be decreased to zero over 20 years, according to Dominion’s plan, but the average customer is expected to contribute $5,700 over that span.
“People are fixated on this check that people are going to get,” State Rep. Bart Blackwell, R-Aiken, told the Aiken Standard. “It’s pretty exciting, but they need to realize they put more into it up to this point.”
Dominion Energy’s purchase of SCANA still hinges on the approval of lawmakers and regulators. Dominion has been adamant that its deal is contingent on South Carolina maintaining its law that allows billing customers for the reactors that have never and will never produce energy.
Also, Dominion Energy CEO Thomas Farrell told a panel of SC state senators that acquiring Santee Cooper is not part of the company’s plans. Finding a buyer for the state-owned power provider and its $8 billion in debt promises to be the next chapter in the V.C. Summer saga. Any sale of the 80-year-old public agency would need to be approved by the state’s electric cooperatives.