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SCANA shareholders to vote on merger in July

Staff Report //May 29, 2018//

SCANA shareholders to vote on merger in July

Staff Report //May 29, 2018//

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SCANA shareholders will vote on the Cayce utility’s proposed merger with Virginia-based Dominion Energy during a special meeting on July 31.

Shareholders of record as of May 31 will be eligible to vote on the merger, SCANA said Tuesday in a news release. The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. at the Columbia Conference Center at 169 Laurelhurst Ave.

The company announced Wednesday that it will delay a decision on the payment of a second-quarter dividend on its common stock. In its first-quarter earnings release, SCANA indicated second-quarter dividends would be payable on July 1 to shareholders of record as of June 11. Those dates no longer apply, SCANA said, and will be adjusted if dividends are declared. 

Dominion has proposed acquiring the embattled utility in a $14.6 billion deal that the Virginia company says will include average refunds of around $1,000 per S.C. Electric & Gas customer. SCANA subsidiary SCE&G and state-owned utility Santee Cooper ratepayers were saddled with billions of dollars in debt after the companies, co-owners of a project to build twin nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in Fairfield County, abandoned the project in July 2017.

SCE&G and Santee Cooper sank $9 billion into the reactors, with SCANA requesting and receiving nine rates increases during their decade-long construction, before construction delays and cost increases led to contractor Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy in April 2017. SCE&G customers pay around $37 million a month toward the abandoned reactors.

Dominion’s proposal would reduce the average SCE&G customer’s rates by more than $7 a month, the Virginia company said, and a $1.7 billion-plus write-off of existing V.C. Summer capital and regulatory assets would eliminate all customer costs related to the project over 20 years. That’s faster than the 50- to 60-year period proposed in a November offer from SCE&G.

SCANA’s board of directors approved the merger on Jan. 2, soon after the proposed deal was announced.

The future of the merger has been thrown into doubt after the S.C. House and Senate took legislative action aimed at refunding ratepayers’ money. Earlier this month, the Senate voted to repeal the Base Load Review Act, the controversial 2007 law that allowed SCANA to request and receive the rate increases before the reactors were completed.

Dominion has said the merger hinges on it being allowed to recoup project costs from ratepayers.

SCANA's annual shareholder meeting will be held Sept. 12 for shareholders of record as of July 25.