Dominion proposes alternate SCANA deal.

Dominion Energy has amended its proposal to acquire Cayce-based SCANA Corp., offering a greater long-term reduction in rates that would take a $1,000 average upfront refund off the table.

In new testimony filed this morning with the S.C. Public Service Commission, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell said a merger with his Richmond, Va.-headquartered company could reduce SCANA subsidiary S.C. Electric and Gas ratepayers' bills by 14%. In its original proposal in January, Dominion promised a permanent 7% rate reduction in a deal that would include the upfront refund.

"Several interested parties to this proceeding have, in their testimony and otherwise, suggested the development of a plan which focuses more directly on long-term permanent bill reliefas opposed to up-front customer refunds," Farrell said in his PSC testimony (pdf). "In response to those suggestions, the alternative plan was developed by the company."

Farrell's testimony says the reduction would bring the average SCE&G customer's bill to $126.96 per month. V.C. Summer-related charges would drop to $6 per month and eventually disappear under the new proposal, Farrell said.

"These are bill levels which SCE&G's customers have not seen since 2009," Farrell said in the PSC filing.

SCE&G ratepayers have ponied up $2 billion by way of an 18% rate increase to pay for the abandoned twin nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Power Station in Fairfield County. SCE&G and project co-owner Santee Cooper poured more than $9 billion into the decade-long construction of the reactors before abandoning the project in July 2017 after a series of rising costs and mounting delays and in the face of contractor Westinghouse's bankruptcy three months earlier.

Allegations of project mismanagement have sparked public outcry and legal action, with ramifications from a class action lawsuit filed by SCE&G ratepayers seeking to halt V.C. Summer-related payments posing a potential threat to the Dominion proposal. A circuit court judge assigned to that case has asked attorneys for both sides to draft orders containing language that says the Base Load Review Act is unconstitutional.

The BLRA, a state law passed in 2007, is the mechanism by which SCANA asked state...

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