Virginia-based utility Dominion Energy has three proposals for a potential takeover of SCE&G’s parent company SCANA.
The company’s mergers and acquisitions director Probir Purohit testified before the South Carolina Public Service Commission on Wednesday that the latest plan would slash SCE&G’s power bills by about $22 a month for the average customer, compared with last year’s rates.
The new plan filed with state regulators on Tuesday has a bigger rate cut for SCE&G’s electric customers than Dominion’s two previous offers. The rate would add an extra seven percentage points to the 15 percent cut legislators imposed this summer. However, in exchange, it would not pass on the money saved from federal tax cuts this year.
It marks the company’s third offer to ratepayers since it first proposed acquiring SCANA in January. “Dominion Energy will close the terms of the merger under the terms of either Plan A, Plan B or Plan B-O,” Purohit said.
In January, Dominion said it had agreed to purchase SCANA and give SCE&G’s electric customers a $10-a-month rate cut and refunds worth $1,000 per electric customer. In September, Dominion came up another proposal which dropped its proposed refunds and, in exchange, doubled its proposed rate cut to about $20 a month.
Purohit said that the latest proposal levels things out. “It takes a typical declining rate-based model where recoveries and rates are higher in the earlier years and lower in the later years and converts it to a more equalized recovery over time,” he said. “Much like a home mortgage.”
At the heart of the deal is the debt from the failed nuclear expansion project at the VC Summer plant in Fairfield County.
SCANA and partner state-owned Santee Cooper decided that completion of the project was beyond their financial ability and stopped construction on the two new reactors in late July 2017.
The Public Service Commission will make the final decision on whether Dominion can take over SCE&G’s operations, as well as how much, if anything, customers will be charged to pay back debt on an ill-fated nuclear project. The commission has until December 21 to make its rulings.