Dominion’s Purchase of SC Utility


Dominion recently announced plans to purchase Scana, a South Carolina utility company whose stock plummeted after they cancelled a nuclear power project in July 2017. Scana customers are still on the hook for years of payments for that cancelled project, and would continue to pay with higher bills for many years to come, despite Dominion’s offer to pay $1000 to the average residential customer as part of the sale deal.

“This is a case of meet your new boss, same as the old boss,” said SELC [Southern Environmental Law Center] attorney Gudrun Thompson. “This is a for-profit company thinking it can throw a little cash at South Carolina customers now, hoping they won’t notice they’re signing on for decades of payouts for a power plant that won’t power a single light bulb.”

And, of course, the purchase of Scana will fit right in with Dominion’s stated intention to extend the Atlantic Coast Pipeline into South Carolina. Dominion expects property owners in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina to give up their land to serve customers in another state (not to mention customers outside the US).  South Carolinians should be prepared to lose their land as well.

In a statement emailed to Think Progress, Thomas Hadwin said, “With substantial cutbacks in the need for gas-fired generation in Virginia and North Carolina, the ACP needs to find a market for the gas carried by the pipeline somewhere. South Carolina is such a market. The output from the abandoned nuclear plant will have to be replaced by energy efficiency, renewables, or new gas-fired generation, or a combination of these.” The Think Progress analysis notes that natural gas producers “likely would gain access to new markets through ACP, which could deliver natural gas produced in the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale to power plants in South Carolina and potentially connect with a pipeline that would send natural gas to the Elba Island liquefied natural gas facility in Georgia, a terminal that will soon be able to export natural gas.”

Read the Bloomberg announcement of Dominion’s planned acquisition.

Read the Southern Environmental Law Center’s commentary on the plan.

Read the Think Progress analysis of the purchase.