Statement on Dominion Takeover of SCANA
A Bad Deal for Clean Energy in South Carolina and for SCE&G Ratepayers, who get Stuck Paying for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Reactor Debacle for 20 Years
COLUMBIA, S.C. – On January 3, 2018, Dominion Energy and SCANA announced that Dominion has instigated a takeover of SCANA, a South Carolina-based utility. SCANA has been vulnerable to takeover as it’s facing financial and regulatory woes due to pursuit by its subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) of two nuclear reactors that were canceled on July 31, 2017, after a waste of $9 billion.
See Dominion presentation on the proposed merger: “Combination of Dominion Energy and SCANA,”
January 3, 2018, http://investors.dominionenergy.com/static-files/358568a2-cd8e-4844-a15c-2f618e902fc7
The take-it-or-leave-it deal falls far short of protecting ratepayers from absorbing the costs of the nuclear fiasco, while replacing the unneeded nuclear plant with unnecessary natural gas capacity instead of cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives. The deal proposes an initial rebate to SCE&G electricity customers for a small amount of the money already paid for the V.C. Summer nuclear reactor construction debacle. The proposal would then require that a typical customer continue to pay 13% of their monthly bill for a period of 20 years, with full profits on the remaining abandoned nuclear project costs. About 18% of customers’ current bill now goes to the nuclear project, with SCE&G collecting about $37 million per month from ratepayers.
SCE&G is still expected to file a formal abandoned nuclear project cost recovery petition with the South Carolina Public Service Commission on or about January 8, 2018, as the company announced last month. That petition will provide important details on Dominion’s proposed deal and draw engagement from public interest groups. Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club will respond aggressively to any proposal which fails to protect ratepayers and assure a clean energy future for South Carolina.
Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club currently have a complaint pending before the PSC which seeks repayment to customers of money wasted on the nuclear project and a future commitment to pursue cleaner, cheaper, alternative energy. In that on-going case Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club are actively seeking to compel discovery of documents from SCE&G that could hold evidence of fraud and imprudence on the part of the utility. While it is unclear how the merger proposal will proceed, the organizations will continue to fight at the PSC for a return of money spent on the nuclear fiasco.
Arial photos of V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant are available here: https://tinyurl.com/ycbubzys
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(e.g. Photo Courtesy of High Flyer ©2017)