- Dominion Energy has filed an alternate plan with South Carolina regulators to acquire SCANA Corp. and its utility subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), offering to lower customer bills, but doing away with a proposed $1,000 customer refund.
- The alternate plan would provide a total of $1.91 billion in refunds over a 20-year period, compared with a proposed $1.3 billion in upfront cash refunds that would have amounted to about $1,000 per customer. Dominion says it still prefers its original proposal, which regulators are also considering.
- Dominion officials could not comment on reports of whether it is pressing for a settlement among parties before the Public Service Commission (PSC) considers SCE&G's rates and the utility's future this week.
This may be the week that decides if Dominion's acquisition goes through — and SCANA avoids bankruptcy.
A South Carolina judge could rule as soon as this week on the constitutionality of the Base Load Review Act, which would require customers to pick up the tab for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project.
If the court issues the order, "we would be unable to close the merger," Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell said in testimony filed with regulators. That ruling would violate a "No Change in Law" provision of the merger agreement, he said.
Farrell said the company is proposing the alternative because throughout the proceedings several parties "suggested the development of a plan which focuses more directly on long-term permanent bill relief, as opposed to up-front customer refunds."
Regulators at the PSC this week will discuss the merger application and who pays for the failed nuclear project, as part of a larger SCE&G rate proceeding, which Dominion had hoped would happen after a settlement among the parties was in place.
The PSC's calendar says the proceeding will be "continued as necessary through the month of November."