Shares of SCANA Corporation (NYSE:SCG) rallied 16.5% in November, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Driving the rebound was the utility's progress on its proposed merger with Dominion Energy (NYSE:D).
Dominion and SCANA have been moving steadily through the regulatory process toward completing their merger over the past several months. The companies received another key approval in November after the North Carolina Utilities Commission voted in favor of the deal. That gave them six of the seven approvals needed.
The only one left is the state of South Carolina, where both companies made headway in getting past a key sticking point last month. Dominion improved its offer to customers of SCANA subsidiary SCG&E, agreeing to cut rates by 15% to appease officials. The proposal would reduce the power bill of the average SCG&E customer by $22 a month. The reduction would help offset much of the $27 a month increase SCANA has passed on to customers over the years to pay for its failed nuclear project.
Meanwhile, SCANA reached a more than $2 billion settlement with South Carolina customers who sued the company after they were charged high electric rates to pay for the failed project. The company agreed to a credit of up to $2 billion in future rate relief while also planning to turn over $115 million to customers that it would have paid out to executives, as well as the proceeds from $70 million in nonessential property sales.
With the merger now approved by six of seven regulators, SCANA only needs South Carolina to give its consent on the deal with Dominion. That's increasingly likely to happen after Dominion boosted its rate cut to customers in the state while SCANA settled a lawsuit with ratepayers. A decision by the state's Public Service Commission should come by Dec. 21.