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South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), a subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (SCG - Analyst Report), plans to expedite the permanent shut down of one of its oldest and smallest coal-fired electric generating station in Canadys Station.
 
The Canadys Station power plant in Colleton County near Walterboro, S.C. has two coal-fired units that are 43 to 57 years old. The third unit was closed last year.
 
The utility intended to switch two of its units to natural gas prior to permanently shutting down the station in 2017 as part of its plan to phase out its oldest coal plants. However, after the reevaluation of its power requirements and analysis of its finances, SCANA decided to complete the withdrawal by the end of 2013. Currently, the plant has 70 employees. 
 
Earlier, SCE&G had planned to eventually retire a total of six coal plants around the state to conform to the new federal mercury emission standards. The six units comprise 730 megawatts of generating capacity. The company had estimated that about one-third of its electric generation will be fueled by nuclear power, one-third by natural gas and one-third by scrubbed coal-fired plants.
 
SCANA’s proposal to retire its older coal units will assist the company to comply with strict environmental regulations as well as attain a more balanced generation portfolio.
 
SCANA’s operations include generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity to retail and wholesale customers in South Carolina. The company also purchases, sells, and transports natural gas to retail customers in South Carolina and southeastern Georgia; provides energy-related risk management services; and acquires, owns, and provides financing for nuclear fuel, fossil fuel, and emission allowances.
 
SCANA carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) stocks – Enerplus Corporation (ERF - Snapshot Report), CNOOC Ltd. (CEO - Analyst Report) and Gulfmark Offshore, Inc. (GLF - Snapshot Report) – are expected to perform impressively over the short term.

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