The Latest: Gov hopeful: Nuke deal 'proof is in the pudding'

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) The Latest on the acquisition of a beleaguered South Carolina utility by Dominion Energy after the failure of a nuclear construction project (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A Republican hoping to become South Carolina's next governor says she's skeptical of a plan to take over a utility floundering after a failed nuclear reactor project.

Former state labor chief Catherine Templeton tells The Associated Press on Wednesday "the proof is in the pudding" for the proposed acquisition of SCANA by Virginia-based Dominion Energy.

The $14.6 billion deal includes about $1.3 billion in refunds to South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. customers, who have so far been charged about $2 billion to fund the company's debt in the project via rate hikes since 2009.

SCE&G abandoned construction of new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station last summer after the bankruptcy of contractor Westinghouse. Templeton, who is challenging Gov. Henry McMaster for this year's GOP nomination, said she company's executives "better not get one penny until we get paid back 100 percent, and they stop taking money for nothing."

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3 p.m.

The chief executive of the company taking over a troubled South Carolina utility says customers won't experience any more rate hikes to pay for an abandoned nuclear construction project.

Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell told reporters Wednesday that there will be only givebacks and ultimately the disappearance altogether of costs related to the debacle of the reactors planned for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion announced earlier Wednesday that it would acquire SCANA as part of a $14.6 billion deal that includes $1.3 billion in refunds for customers of SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. In rate hikes since 2009, SCE&G customers have paid about $2 billion toward the company's debt on the project, which it abandoned last summer after the bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.

Farrell also said there were no plans to restart work on the reactors if the deal is approved by regulators.

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1:45 p.m.

Environmentalists say a deal to acquire a troubled South Carolina utility "falls far short of protecting ratepayers" from absorbing costs of a failed nuclear construction deal.

Friends of the Earth issued its release Wednesday in response to plans by Dominion Energy to acquire SCANA. Officials said the $14.6 billion deal involving the parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. could mean $1.3 billion in refunds to SCE&G customers, including immediate $1,000 cash payments within 90 days of closing its purchase of the company.

SCANA has been reeling since announcing last summer that it was abandoning new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. SCE&G customers have paid about $2 billion toward the company's debt on the project.

Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club have a complaint pending before South Carolina regulators seeking repayment to customers and a future commitment to pursue cleaner, cheaper, alternative energy.

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1:15 p.m.

South Carolina's legislative leaders are weighing in on the proposed acquisition of a troubled South Carolina utility by Dominion Energy.

House Speaker Jay Lucas said in a statement Wednesday that the SCANA acquisition is "an interesting starting point" but more fixes are needed. Senate President Pro Temp Hugh Leatherman said he looked forward to getting a briefing from company officials on the deal.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.'s parent company SCANA announced Wednesday it was being acquired by Virginia-based Dominion. Officials said the deal could mean $1.3 billion in refunds SCE&G customers, including immediate $1,000 cash payments within 90 days of closing its purchase of the company.

SCANA has been reeling since announcing last summer abandonment of two new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. SCE&G customers have paid about $2 billion toward the company's debt on the project.

The $14.6 billion deal announced Wednesday needs regulatory approval.

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9:20 a.m.

A deal with Virginia-based Dominion Energy could mean $1.3 billion in refunds for customers of a troubled South Carolina utility who have been funding a failed nuclear reactor project.

Dominion announced Wednesday it would make immediate $1,000 cash payments to SCANA Corp. customers within 90 days of closing its purchase of the company.

SCANA has been reeling since announcing last summer its subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., was abandoning construction of two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. Via a series of rate hikes, SCE&G customers have paid about $2 billion toward the company's debt on the project.

SCE&G and project co-owner Santee Cooper blamed the $9 billion project failure on the bankruptcy by contractor Westinghouse. The $14.6 billion deal announced Wednesday needs regulatory approval.

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