State Senators Are Not Sold On Dominion Energy’s Plan to Merge With SCANA

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- Executives of Dominion Energy went over details of their merger proposal, including a thousand dollar rebate for the average customer, in front of senators Tuesday. Though lawmakers are pleased with the progression, they do not believe everything Dominion is trying to sell to customers.

“This is probably the fourth or fifth offer that has been pitched to me. This is the best one that I have seen so far but that doesn’t mean it’s good,” said Edgefield Republican Senator Shane Massey.

“The bottom line is, Dominion is offering every citizen in South Carolina a thousand dollar check. Anytime you have a deal that sounds like it’s too good to be true, it usually is,” began Fairfield Democrat Senator Mike Fanning. “So what I’m hearing from ratepayers instead of the excitement of getting the check, they are asking ‘what’s the catch?’ The catch is 20 years of 13 percent higher rates for reactors that have been abandoned.”

Though Dominion Chief Executive Officer Tom Farrell explained his plan to keep the company local, lawmakers were mostly concerned with the company’s stance on the Base Load Review Act, saying if lawmakers retroactively repeal the law that allows ratepayers to pay for projects before they are completed, the company could go bankrupt.

“They will go to junk status. That will increase their cost and it will make them the weakest utility in the United States which is not a healthy economic development partner or a state that prides itself on economic development,” said Farrell.

“The number one thing we have to do this session is we have to repeal the Base Load Review Act as it respects going forward with future utility rates, I’m not talking about clawing back the old rates, in order to make sure utility customers are paying only for the utility they use,” Senator Fanning said.
This was the first Senate hearing on the failed project since Dominion announced its plan to merge with SCANA. House members will have their hearing with Dominion executives Wednesday morning.
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