SCANA and Dominion Energy's idea to merge gives state regulators a lot to think about

SCANA sold to Dominion Energy, SCE&G customers to be refunded. (Photo: WACH)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — Last week, Dominion Energy went public with their plans to merge with SCANA. But it's far from a done deal. The two companies pitched the plan to the SC Public Service Commission Thursday and what it means for power customers. The question still remains on which solution will ultimately give ratepayers their money back.

After a failed nuclear project left thousands jobless, energy company SCANA was forced to find solutions to repay its customers. But early January, they announced an agreement to potentially merge with Dominion Energy.

"We proposed that this 180 million dollar purchase required to meet customers' needs...We'd have shareholders pay for that, not put it back into rates," says Dominion CEO Tom Farrell.

If the Commission approves the merger, Dominion says the average customer will receive a $1,000 refund. But Thursday Chairman Swain Whitfield questioned Farrell what he'd say to the ratepayer who thinks it's not enough. Not every ratepayer believes the proposal is the best solution.

"It's accepted that something's got to happen. Dominion's basically presented a take it or leave it deal. I view this as very, very fragile and the company is presenting something on which they're inflexible so I don't think it's a good idea," says Friends of the Earth Senior Advisor Tom Clements.

SCANA CEO Jimmy Addison says the deal is their only option.

"This proposal goes billions further than we can go. I just don't know what else we can do and remain on our own," says Addison.

If the merger is approved, Dominion promises no further rate hikes associated with the nuclear project for 20 years. A petition won't be filed until late Friday, which will then trigger a regulatory review process. Dominion then has to go through several approval processes until the final vote in May.

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