By Ed Baine, Senior Vice President- Distribution, Dominion Energy
The proposed partnership between South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and its parent company, SCANA, with Dominion Energy would benefit all South Carolinians. Once approved, the combination of the two companies would provide rate relief for customers, help community organizations, and protect thousands of jobs in the Palmetto State.
This is very good news for families and communities served by SCE&G, who have seen electric rates dramatically increase in recent years because of the unfinished nuclear power facility at V.C. Summer.
In an unprecedented offer, the deal includes cash payments for all electric customers, including about $1,000 for a typical residential customer. Payments also would go to churches, schools, small businesses and industry. The payments would total $1.3 billion. We believe this is one of the largest payments to customers by any utility in history. It clearly shows Dominion Energy is keeping the best interests of SCE&G customers in mind.
SCE&G electric customers also would get a rate reduction of at least 5 percent to help offset the costs of the abandoned nuclear project. Dominion Energy would also help absorb more than $1.7 billion in debt associated with that project, which has become too costly to complete. And, the company would not be able seek a rate increase for other reasons for three years.
The joining of the two companies also would be critically important for SCE&G because it comes at a time when certainty is needed most, particularly for SCANA employees and their families. Dominion Energy has committed to retain all current SCANA employees until at least 2020, and ensures that all financial commitments to retirees would be met and honored.
It is important to know that Dominion Energy isn’t new to the Palmetto State, but instead already calls South Carolina home. The company has been a responsible corporate citizen here since 2015, when it acquired Carolina Gas Transmission, a natural gas company that serves industrial customers across the state. Also, Dominion Energy already operates two solar energy facilities in Jasper County, which produce enough energy to power about 20,000 homes. Dominion Energy has plans to increase the use of solar and other renewable sources in S.C.
Dominion Energy also is strongly committed to giving back to the communities it serves, making them better places to live and helping people in need. We are making a five-year pledge to increase donations to charities by $1 million on top of what SCE&G is already giving.
We believe our proposal provides the best opportunity for keeping and adding jobs in South Carolina. Dominion Energy has a strong record of promoting business development opportunities. We regularly are recognized as one of the best utilities in the country on this front.
Without this deal, the future of SCE&G, its employees and the customers who rely on it for electricity and natural gas will remain uncertain. But what Dominion Energy is offering would bring certainty and it represents a good opportunity for the people of South Carolina. With Dominion Energy and SCE&G together, our energy future is bright, reliable and strong.