Dominion Energy has agreed an all-stock deal to buy fellow US utility Scana in a bid to cement its position as one of the largest and fastest-growing energy companies in the country.

The $14.6 billion deal will pay shares worth around $7.9 billion for Scana’s equity and will also take on around $6.7 billion in net debt. The deal also includes refunds and rate reductions for some of Scana’s customers in relation to the abandoned V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 nuclear energy projects in South Carolina.

Dominion says that the acquisition of Scana will add significantly to its presence in the expanding energy markets of southeastern USA. Scana’s operations include service to approximately 1.6 million electric and natural gas residential and business accounts in South Carolina and North Carolina and 5800 MW of electric generation capacity.

“Scana is a natural fit for Dominion Energy,” said Thomas F. Farrell, II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Energy. “This combination can open new expansion opportunities as we seek to meet the energy needs of people and industry in the southeast.”

Dominion said that the merger deal is dependent on South Carolina regulators giving their approval to the plans to resolve the aftermath of the cancelled nuclear projects.

Scana said it would abandon the projects – which were hit by delays and cost overruns – following Westinghouse’s bankruptcy.

Scana said that the deal represents “a positive resolution” to “a very difficult situation”.

Once the merger is completed, the combined company would operate in 18 states from Connecticut to California. The company would deliver energy to approximately 6.5 million regulated customer accounts in eight states and have an electric generating portfolio of 31 400 MW and 93 600 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines. It also would have a natural gas pipeline network totaling 106 400 miles and operate one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of capacity.