The Georgia Public Service Commission has unanimously approved the merger of Dominion Energy, Inc., and SCANA Corporation, becoming the first state regulatory agency to act on the proposed combination that has already been approved by the Federal Trade Commission.
The acquisition now requires approval from two other state regulators in North and South Carolina, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and from SCANA's shareholders. In February, the Federal Trade Commission agreed to waive the 30-day waiting period under the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
Under a merger agreement announced in January, the combined company would deliver energy to approximately 6.5 million regulated customer accounts and have an electric generating portfolio of about 31,400 megawatts and 93,600 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines. It also would have a natural gas pipeline network totaling 106,400 miles and operate one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of capacity.
The total price for the deal, $14.6 billion, includes $7.9 billion in a stock-for-stock exchange, according to The Motley Fool. It also transitions about $6.7 billion in debt.
It also transfers headaches and write-offs related to the failed V.C. Summer nuclear power plant expansion project. SCANA and partner Santee Cooper pulled the plug on the construction deal after spending about $9 billion on the project, effectively leaving customers with the incurred costs and without anything to show for it.
To pave the way for the regulatory approvals and offset some of the resentment among customers, the deal includes a $1.3 billion rebate for customers, who will receive about $1,000 each within 90 days of the closing, which the companies expect to happen this year.
The Motely Fool described the $1.3 billion as an "olive branch to make up for capital costs from the abandoned nuclear project that were passed on to customers."
There is also a $1.7 billion write off representing construction fees from customers that were never collected. An additional $180 million in write-offs comes from a natural gas powered plant that is under construction to make up for some of the electricity generation that was given up with the nuclear power project that was abandoned.
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