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SCANA petitions PSC for expedited approval of Dominion acquisition

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SCANA has filed a joint petition on behalf of S.C. Electric and Gas and Dominion Energy asking the S.C. Public Service Commission to approve Dominion’s proposed acquisition of SCANA.

The petition (.pdf), filed Friday, also asks for a prudency determination regarding the abandonment of the nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer and associated merger benefits and cost recovery plans. The filing includes a motion to expedite.

“The customer benefits plan and the closing of the merger itself depend on approval of the merger by this commission with no material changes to the terms of the customer benefits plan,” the petition says.

The filing summarizes the proposed merger, announced Jan. 3. The $14.6 billion deal would include a $1.3 billion cash payment within 90 days of the completion of the stock-for-stock merger, which could result in refunds of up to $1,000 for SCE&G customers. Those ratepayers have paid nearly $2 billion toward the abandoned project and continue to pay $27 a month.

Dominion, based in Richmond, Va., would work with state regulators to determine refund amounts based on usage.

A chart detailing proposed rate credits for SCE&G customers is included in Friday’s filing. Residential rate credits would total $628 million and industrial rate credits would be $299 million. Dominion would underwrite a $575 million refund pool for previously collected amounts that would result in an immediate reduction of at least 5% in customer bills, the petition says.

“SCE&G is at a critical crossroads in its greater than 170-year history of operations as a South Carolina public utility,” the petition says. “And its fate may well be determined through the decisions made on this joint petition.”

The S.C. House and Senate are scheduled to continue holding hearings into the V.C. Summer debacle on Wednesday. SCE&G and project co-owner Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility, poured nearly $9 billion into the reactors before construction stopped, shortly after contractor Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy April.

Westinghouse has agreed to be acquired by Brookfield Business Partners L.P.

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