UPDATE: Long-term effects Of SCANA & Dominion merger

By  | 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
News 12 at 11

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- We first told you on News 12 at 6 o'clock how today's merger between SCANA and Dominion could save you money on your power bills.

The $1,000 rebate that was promised to customers isn't happening, some think this new alternative, a discount on your monthly bill, could just be smoke and mirrors. Especially considering what customers have already paid for.

SCE&G customers might finally get the kickback they were promised.

“The rate is going to be lower going forward which is a good thing for everyone," said Bill Taylor, an Aiken Representative.

Unless there is more to it.

"For every action, there's a reaction, you never know what's hidden in the details," said Taylor.

Many neighbors and even those who represent them in Columbia are skeptical.

"Their initial offer of a $1,000 back in the form of a rebate was a bad deal, to begin with," said Taylor.

Even with that rebate, customers would have been on the hook for an extra $5500 over the next several years.

"The nuclear financial fiasco we've gone through with the VC Summer Power Plants not being built," said Taylor.

Taylor says a state lawsuit concerning the failed reactors at VC Summer, which taxpayers forked up nearly $2 billion for, could be to blame for the change in policy which gives you a slight month-to-month discount now instead.

"It is squarely on the shoulders of the SCANA executives and the Santee Cooper people involved with that," said Taylor.

Taxpayers were paying an extra 18% on their monthly bills for reactors that never produced any energy, something both rep. Hixon and neighbor John Johnson agree wasn't working.

"That's sort of like you buying a car and you're making the payments but you never get to drive it," said Hixon.

"It's unconstitutional for them to charge us for something we didn't get," said Johnson.

Thankfully, those rates were dropped drastically after the lawsuit. Only time will tell if the new monthly rebate will be enough to make up for it.

Taylor tells News 12 the focus will now shift to Santee Cooper, who just filed a lawsuit accusing SCE&G of fraud.

Santee Cooper is owned by the taxpayers, who were also helping pay for those failed nuclear reactors at VC Summer.

There's no telling how messy this could get but the state could consider selling Santee Cooper in the new term, which would affect its customers.

News 12 at 6/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- SCE&G customers could see some changes on their power bill soon. Dominion Energy bought SCANA Corporation, which is SCE&G’s parent company.

"Everybody looks for ways to save money," said Gary Nickell, an SCE&G customer.

Whether it's turning off the lights or unplugging appliances you aren't using, Gary Nickell is always looking to save a few extra bucks.

"I'm a business owner so I'm always looking for ways to cut overhead to increase my bottom line, and it's the same with your house," said Nickell.

Dominion Energy thinks they have the perfect solution for people like Gary using SCE&G.

SCANA and Dominion Energy have merged and Gary says the deal looks good on the surface but you can never be too sure.

"For every action, there's a reaction so you never know exactly what is hidden in the details," said Nickell.

The company's $9 billion effort to build two more nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer failed. After 9 rate jumps, customers have paid more than $2 billion in the form of higher power bills.

After months of lawsuits and investigative hearings, Dominion Energy swooped in. The utility nuclear rate, a line item on your bill, was temporarily lowered by almost 15%.

"I'll take the 22 bucks. $22 is $22,” said Nickell.

If your monthly bill was $150, now Dominion Energy says you'll save $22, bringing your monthly bill to $128.

But Gary says $22 isn't life-changing.

“You give $1,000 to somebody and that's going to spur the economy. They're going to spend money. $22 a month or a year, whatever the saving is, it's really insignificant at the end of the day," said Nickell.

You might have been hearing about a $1,000 refund being thrown around and originally that was the case for this merger.

But Dominion chose an overall lower rate every billing cycle, instead of a one time rebate.

11:56 a.m.

(WRDW/WAGT) – Dominion Energy and SCANA Corporation have announced their proposed merger has officially gone through, making them one company.

A press release says this will “benefit” customers in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

“Dominion Energy is pleased to add SCANA’s fast-growing, high-performing Southeastern businesses to our 18-state footprint. Together, we are committed to providing safe, dependable, affordable and clean energy to the communities served by SCANA and to maintaining its excellent record of reliability and customer service,” said chairman, president and CEO Thomas F. Farrell.

As the merger goes into effect, Dominion Energy’s operations are expanding in Georgia and the Carolinas.

SCANA is the parent company of South Carolina Electric and Gas.

Since the failed nuclear project at V.C. Summer, SCE&G customers have had to pay more than before to offset the cost. Over the summer, South Carolina lawmakers passed a law to reduce those bills by more than $20 per month.

Dominion Energy says they will provide bill credits of $2.45 million over the next three years to SCE&G customers for gas utility.

According to the press release, the company has also committed to the following:

  • Maintaining compensation levels for employees of SCANA and its subsidiaries until at least Jan. 1, 2020, and extending to at least July 1, 2020, base pay continuation or severance for all non-executive employees

  • Maintaining SCANA’s excellent customer service levels at or above current levels;
    Increasing SCANA’s corporate and charitable giving by $1 million per year for at least five years in SCANA’s communities, including increasing PSNC Energy’s charitable contributions by $150,000 in 2019

  • Implementing an EnergyShare-like program in South Carolina to assist low-income, elderly, disabled and veteran customers

  • Agreeing to a freeze in base rates for SCE&G’s electric customers at current levels until Jan. 1, 2021;
    Agreeing to a freeze in base rates for PSNC Energy’s customers at current levels until at least Nov. 1, 2021

  • Appointing a member of the SCANA board of directors or its executive management team to Dominion Energy’s board of directors