Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell said the company’s offer to merge with SCANA includes returning $1.3 billion to customers in the form of a roughly $1000 check, reducing bills by five percent and removing nuclear costs in 20 years. After giving a presentation Farrell and SCANA CEO Jimmy Addison took questions from the Public Service Commissioners including Chairman Swain Whitfield.
"What would you say to the South Carolina ratepayers who thinks it's not enough?" Whitfield asked.
"A little bit more than 70 percent of what they paid in will be paid back,” Farrell said. “Is it perfect? Does it solve every problem that a South Carolinian has with the history of this? No. It does not. Is it a very good proposal? We think it is. And we're hopeful that the perfect won't be the enemy of the very good."
"Is there anything else in your mind as the face of SCANA that can be done?" Whitfield asked.
"This proposal as you can see goes billions further than we can go. And I just don't know anything else we can do on our own and remain a financially viable company," Addison said.
Tom Clements is an advisor for the environmental group Friends of the Earth and has been fighting SCANA since the inception of the nuclear project in 2008. He said he doesn't think the merger is the best option.
"Bankruptcy for example may not be so horrible for the company. They are totally avoiding this discussion. We're going to review past prudency decisions, past cost overruns and Dominion is acting like our docket simply does not exist and that's just not the case," said Clements.
The plan that was presented hinges on portions of the Base Load Review Act not being repealed by lawmakers. The Base Load Review Act has allowed SCANA to charge customers for the nuclear projects since 2008.
Although Dominion will take on some of the costs under the proposed deal, customers will still have to pay for part of the failed nuclear project over the next 20 years.