Politics & Government

Dominion just won the right to buy SCANA. What’s next?

Dominion buys out SCANA: How we got here

Since the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project was abandoned, SC lawmakers and agencies have tried to keep SCE&G and parent company SCANA from overcharging power customers for the failed project. Here is a summary of what has happened.
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Since the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project was abandoned, SC lawmakers and agencies have tried to keep SCE&G and parent company SCANA from overcharging power customers for the failed project. Here is a summary of what has happened.

Dominion Energy’s victory Friday at the S.C. Public Service Commission isn’t the final chapter in its quest to buy SCANA, the Cayce-based power company that ran up billions of dollars in debt on a failed nuclear construction project.

Here is what to watch for in the coming weeks.

  • The PSC must issue a written order by Friday, Dec. 21, explaining its ruling and what it means for everyone involved.
  • Once that ruling is issued, each of the 19 parties in the PSC case will study it. If they object to any part of it, they will have 10 days to file an appeal. An appeal could take a month or more for the PSC to sort out.
  • Any of the environmental or customer groups who intervened in the PSC case also could appeal directly to the state Supreme Court. If the state’s highest court agrees to take up the case, that could drag out the process for a year or more.
  • Over the few weeks, Dominion also will review the PSC’s written order and decide whether to finalize its purchase of SCANA. But it’s a safe bet Dominion won’t walk away at this point.
  • If the Dominion deal becomes final, the attorneys suing SCANA on behalf of ratepayers will seek to settle their case. The terms of the settlement will be mailed to ratepayers, giving them a chance to object to or opt out of the settlement.
  • Dominion also must make a decision about each of SCANA’s senior executives. Some could be fired or pushed into retirement as part of the takeover. Dominion has said it plans to run SCE&G as an independent utility with its headquarters in Cayce, so the company will need to name a chief executive. Dominion chief executive Tom Farrell told the PSC last month he might give that job to a current SCANA executive or a Dominion executive.
  • Meanwhile, criminal investigations continue into actions by SCANA’s top executives. The FBI and State Law Enforcement Division still are investigating the nuclear project’s failure, and whether SCANA executives misled investors, state regulators and the public about its progress and shortcomings.

Avery G. Wilks is The State’s senior S.C. State House and politics reporter. He is currently filling in as an editor of The State’s award-winning State House team. He was named the 2018 S.C. Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association. He grew up in Chester, S.C., and graduated from the University of South Carolina’s top-ranked Honors College in 2015.


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