Politics & Government

Dominion Energy offers buyouts, including to more than 1,200 former SCANA employees

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 is offering voluntary retirement packages to nearly one-third of its workforce, including more than 1,200 employees who worked for Cayce-based SCANA before its takeover in January.

Most of those employees live in South Carolina and work for SCE&G as part of Dominion’s new Southeastern Energy Group. Dominion spokesman Ryan Frazier would not say how many employees the company hopes to shed with the packages. The employees have until April 16 to decide whether to accept the buyouts.

“Any merger gives you a chance to reset, especially when you’re adding 5,000 (former SCANA) employees,” Frazier said.

Even before Dominion finalized its $14 billion takeover of SCANA in January, the Virginia-based power giant said some employees - especially those in white-collar jobs – could be laid off or given incentives to retire.

Dominion CEO Tom Farrell promised there would not be “significant layoffs” and said some employees would be considered for other jobs within the company.

But the company would never say how many former SCANA employees are expected to lose their jobs during the transition, which is expected to take two years.

“I wish it didn’t happen, but it’s clearly something that often happens in mergers between big companies,” said Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, whose district includes SCE&G’s headquarters. “At least at this point, it’s voluntary.”

The voluntary retirement packages are worth up to 14 months of pay, depending on the employee’s number of years with the company. They were offered to employees who are older than 55 and have worked for the company at least three years.

Employees who accept the buyouts will get two months of pay, plus three weeks of pay for every year they worked at the company. But the buyouts are capped at 14 months of pay.

“Participation is entirely voluntary, and every employee’s circumstance is unique,” Farrell wrote in a letter to Dominion’s roughly 21,000 employees.

Such offers are rare. Dominion last offered a buyout package in 2010.

The buyout packages are separate from the employee pay protections Dominion promised before it took over SCANA.

In approving the deal, the S.C. Public Service Commission required Dominion to pay employees’ salaries through at least July 1, 2020, even if they lose their job.

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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