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Jan 12, 5:00 PM EST

Dominion CEO: Without deal, South Carolina utility fails


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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The state's leaders can either accept a deal to take over a troubled South Carolina utility or watch the company fail, an executive for the company proposing to take over SCANA Corp. said Thursday.

Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell told the Public Service Commission that the Virginia company's proposed deal was the best option South Carolina could hope for, news outlets reported. Farrell also warned that SCANA could go bankrupt if the company can't keep charging customers to pay debts on the construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.

The commission is one of the state and federal entities whose approval would be needed for the deal to go through.

SCANA abandoned the project last year after the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse. Dominion has proposed a $14.6 billion deal to buy SCANA, whose ratepayers have already paid out $2 billion to fund the utility's debt on the project.

The proposed deal does include some givebacks for SCANA ratepayers, but the charging will continue. The companies would reduce the amount of money that SCANA customers are paying each month for the abandoned reactors, Farrell said,

"It can't be wished away," Farrell said, of the debt owed by SCANA. "It has to be dealt with."

State lawmakers are considering various pieces of legislation related to the project, including some that would change state utility laws. State and federal authorities are also investigating the failure.

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