Duke Energy makes offer to purchase troubled South Carolina utility

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy Corp. is back in the mergers and acquisition hunt, having submitted a proposal to purchase South Carolina-owned utility Santee Cooper.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has proposed selling the state-owned utility in the wake of the failed $20 billion-plus expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. The July 2017 decision to abandon that project — after more than $9 billion was spent on construction — already led to the sale of SCANA Corp. to Virginia-based Dominion Energy Inc. SCANA subsidiary S.C. Electric & Gas owned 55% of the project.

Duke is one of several companies and organizations to submit proposals for Santee Cooper, which has about 180,700 direct customers. It also sells wholesale power to 20 electric cooperatives and estimates that overall it provides power to about 2 million residential and business customers in 46 South Carolina counties. Three companies have confirmed they made proposals, and there may be more.

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