SCANA Corp. on Thursday released it first financial report since announcing it will scrap construction of two Midlands nuclear reactors, saying its second-quarter profit climbed 15 percent from a year ago.
SCANA's earnings of $121 million amounted to 85 cents a share for the April-June period, primarily from growth at its South Carolina Electric & Gas business.
At SCE&G, net income rose 11 percent to about $126 million for the quarter on higher gas and electric margins and lower operating expenses. The gain was offset by about $4 million in losses at the parent company and other business units.
For the first six months of 2017, SCANA said earnings edged up 4 percent to $292 million, or $2.04 on a per-share basis.
The Cayce-based company also approved a cash dividend of 61¼ cents a share for the current quarter. It will be paid to stockholders on Oct. 1.
SCANA's earnings came out three days after the company and Santee Cooper, its partner in the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion, announced they were scrapping the problem-plagued project following the March bankruptcy of lead contractor Westinghouse.
"The last few weeks have been the most challenging in our company's history," SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh said during a conference call with financial analysts Thursday.
The utility's ratepayers have already paid billions toward the failed expansion, and SCANA is seeking to have its customers foot the bill for roughly $8.6 billion in costs related to the two abandoned reactors.
Marsh said one of the next steps for the company will be to submit a detailed report about its decision with regulators at the S.C. Public Service Commission, whom he said were "shocked" and angered by the announcement Monday.
"I can understand their anger because the state wanted those two reactors," he said.
Marsh added that he's "confident we made the right decision on behalf of customers and all the other stakeholders, and will present that in a very clear and understandable form to the commission."
An analyst asked Marsh if he had talked with any of the state lawmakers who are forming a new energy caucus and calling for the investors of the utility to cover any future costs of the abandoned reactors. He said he had not spoken with state officials since addressing regulators at a hearing Tuesday in Columbia.
"We have a very active regulatory team who will certainly be reaching out to members of that group, who can help them understand the challenges we had in making that decision and why we decided to seek the abandonment," Marsh said.