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South Carolina electric customers to get $1,000 refund

Here's something you don't see every day: A company is buying another company for several billion dollars. But shareh...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 7:00 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 7:00 PM

Here's something you don't see every day: A company is buying another company for several billion dollars. But shareholders won't be the only winners. Customers are going to get some money, too.

Virginia utility Dominion Energy announced a deal to purchase South Carolina's SCANA for $7.9 billion -- and Dominion plans to pay $1.3 billion to SCANA's South Carolina Electric & Gas Company customers within 90 days after the merger closes.

That works out to an average of about $1,000 for each SCE&G residential customer. Payments will depend on how much electricity SCE&G customers have used in the past year.

Dominion also said Wednesday that it plans an average 5% rate reduction for SCE&G customers, thanks in part to to lower corporate taxes under the new federal tax law in Washington.

Dominion said the rate cut would lower the average SCE&G customer's electric bill by more than $7 a month.

"It would lock in significant and immediate savings for SCE&G customers -- including what we believe is the largest utility customer cash refund in history," said Dominion chairman and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in a statement.

The refund isn't just about tax reform, though. It's a way for Dominion to pay back SCE&G customers for money they've already spent to pay for the shutdown of two SCANA nuclear power plants.

Dominion said it was writing down $1.7 billion in costs tied to the closing of the two plants.

Related: Just a small slice of Corporate America has shared tax savings so far

Customers will still have to help foot the bill from the shutdown for another 20 years. But SCE&G customers were previously expected to keep paying for the nuclear plant closures for 50 to 60 years.

Farrell said Dominion will need approval from South Carolina regulators for the customer payments and rate refunds but that Dominion believes "it is in the best interests of all parties to reach an agreement on this critical issue."

To be sure, the acquisition will clearly benefit investors, too. Shares of SCANA surged more than 22% on the news Wednesday.

But this appears to be the first example of companies citing tax reform as a win for their customers -- and not just investors or employees.

Several big firms, including Southwest, American Airlines, Comcast and Wells Fargo have already announced special bonuses and/or pay raises as a result of lower corporate taxes.

Still, the Dominion deal may be a good one for SCANA employees, too.

Companies often announce big layoffs immediately after a merger since cost savings can be a way to justify the price of an acquisition, but Dominion said SCANA workers will have their jobs protected until at least 2020.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 614946

Reported Deaths: 9807
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion849231342
Lake45784693
Allen33103560
Hamilton29752316
St. Joseph27572383
Elkhart24496346
Vanderburgh19679255
Tippecanoe18150144
Johnson15234296
Porter14970172
Hendricks14550253
Madison11071223
Clark10852145
Vigo10819185
Monroe9496115
Delaware9193136
LaPorte9173164
Howard8325148
Kosciusko811485
Warrick683399
Hancock6783106
Bartholomew6659100
Floyd6522113
Wayne6194164
Grant6050118
Dubois559081
Boone557968
Morgan551996
Henry512365
Marshall507884
Dearborn488745
Cass487864
Noble476159
Jackson428747
Shelby423381
Lawrence395180
Clinton375845
Gibson375560
Harrison354046
DeKalb351365
Montgomery349754
Knox337839
Miami325244
Steuben315846
Whitley313126
Wabash306951
Adams303636
Ripley301646
Putnam299152
Huntington295760
Jasper293035
White275943
Daviess271776
Jefferson267738
Decatur249983
Fayette249949
Greene242763
Posey241828
Wells237551
LaGrange230363
Scott227939
Clay225032
Randolph215848
Jennings200937
Spencer193622
Sullivan193633
Washington189023
Fountain185227
Starke177044
Jay168723
Owen168338
Fulton165430
Orange161035
Carroll160616
Rush156418
Perry156129
Vermillion150034
Franklin149933
Tipton134433
Parke13098
Pike118826
Blackford112023
Pulaski97937
Newton92621
Brown88835
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin75013
Warren6867
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4967
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 872918

Reported Deaths: 10856
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102616707
Cuyahoga868931154
Hamilton65148455
Montgomery43662420
Summit35411766
Lucas31794634
Butler31451232
Stark26247445
Warren19939144
Lorain19378229
Mahoning17561339
Lake16350161
Clermont16235113
Delaware1463881
Licking13453142
Fairfield1301782
Trumbull12980317
Greene12226144
Medina11798169
Clark11094266
Wood10507158
Allen10031128
Portage9514111
Richland9275134
Miami927273
Marion7512113
Tuscarawas7455186
Columbiana7433124
Pickaway735250
Muskingum714042
Wayne7140172
Erie6253130
Ross5589100
Hancock556292
Scioto545365
Geauga518955
Darke474395
Lawrence464658
Union459130
Ashtabula457973
Sandusky440462
Huron435541
Mercer435590
Seneca435366
Auglaize425166
Belmont423948
Jefferson423969
Shelby422923
Washington396340
Athens38619
Putnam379276
Madison359930
Knox358423
Ashland349638
Fulton341744
Defiance336188
Crawford327274
Preble323637
Brown318821
Logan314835
Ottawa297443
Clinton293944
Highland282219
Williams282267
Jackson266145
Guernsey259326
Champaign254628
Fayette241030
Morrow23594
Perry235518
Holmes227274
Henry222954
Hardin217033
Coshocton208023
Van Wert204445
Gallia200126
Wyandot198151
Pike180918
Adams179815
Hocking174024
Carroll158216
Paulding145521
Noble121040
Meigs110324
Monroe103433
Harrison89821
Morgan84531
Vinton71714
Unassigned00
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