Santee Cooper petitions to intervene in Dominion-SCANA merger
- South Carolina state-owned utility Santee Cooper has petitioned to intervene in the merger proceeding of Dominion and SCANA Corp., the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas, adding yet another layer of uncertainty to the deal.
- As lawmakers have struggled with how to protect SCE&G customers from paying for the failed VC Summer nuclear development, that possibility also triggered Dominion to threaten to abandon the deal.
- The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) has also posed questions regarding the benefit of additional gas demand to Dominion, and the company's Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.
The fallout from South Carolina's failed nuclear expansion is threatening the proposed Dominion-SCE&G merger, and observers say Santee Cooper may be stepping in to protect its interests that relate to Summer nuclear facility debacle.
Dominion Energy has indicated again it will drop its bid to acquire SCANA Corp., if lawmakers follow through on a rate reduction. The merger offer already includes a rate reduction and customer refunds up to $1,000. But currently, roughly 18% of SCE&G bills goes to pay for the failed project. SCANA abandoned the V.C. Summer nuclear plant last summer after spending $9 billion in ratepayer funds. Lawmakers have been considering measures reduce the amount the from customer bills.
In its petition to intervene, Santee Cooper said it did so as co-owner of the failed nuclear project. "Santee Cooper desires to protect any such interests as may be affected," the utility told regulators. ORS has also filed several pages of questions, with the initial portion focused on natural gas service, and Dominion's plans to on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
"Explain the benefits to Dominion Energy from added demand for natural gas due to the construction of a new gas-fired electric generation plant in South Carolina constructed by SCE&G," the questions begin. "If the Atlantic Coast Pipeline were extended into South Carolina , how much natural gas capacity would be added to [Dominion Energy Carolina Gas Transmission?"
Dominion is lead developer of the 600-mile pipeline, which will move gas through parts of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. There have been questions whether Dominion ultimately intends to extend the pipeline into South Carolina.
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