COLUMBIA — SCANA Corp. is selling off property, including a valuable office property in downtown Charleston, after being ordered to pay some refunds to South Carolina electric customers for a pair of nuclear reactors that were never finished.
Among the assets being sold is a vacant 140-year-old business office at 141 Meeting St., the site of what SCANA called the "original Charleston Gas & Light Building," in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company began soliciting bids for the 1-acre, two-building property in August 2017, shortly after halting work at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. No buyer has been announced.
The Charleston billing and business office just north of the Gibbes Museum of Art was closed more than three years ago to reduce expenses.
The building on the Meeting Street side of the property was designed and constructed for Charleston Gas & Light, the predecessor to SCANA-owned South Carolina Electric & Gas. According to Historic Charleston Foundation's "The Buildings of Charleston," the Palladian-style structure with cast iron features was completed around 1878.
The smaller building fronting the King Street side of the property contains about 3,200 square feet of commercial space and is not believed be of historic significance.
Cayce-based SCANA also is seeking offers for other properties it owns, including the 3,000-acre Ramsey Grove Plantation in Georgetown, where executives went for retreats and duck hunting.
Also being sold are offices in Aiken and North Augusta, hundreds of undeveloped acres near the company's headquarters and several acres in downtown Columbia that it once used as a bus parking lot.
The money made on the sales will go to pay SCE&G customers as part of a settlement over a lawsuit over the utility's mismanagement of the construction of two nuclear plants that were never finished.
Customers owe billions of dollars for the two abandoned reactors at the V.C. Summer site. Regulators voted to reduce SCE&G electric rates, but customers will continue to pay monthly for the abandoned plants for 20 years, an amount totaling $2.3 billion.
Lawyers who negotiated the settlement as part of the lawsuit estimate the properties being sold are worth about $85 million. An additional $115 million is being taken from a trust fund to pay severance for SCANA executives.
Part of the $200 million will go to those lawyers, although the exact split between the attorneys and ratepayers has not been determined.
Regulators gave SCANA permission to sell its assets last week. The same group approved the utility's merger with Dominion Energy of Virginia earlier this month.