COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Shareholders of SCANA agreed Tuesday to sell the South Carolina utility to Virginia-based Dominion Energy, which has agreed to swallow billions of dollars in debt from the company's failed nuclear construction project and other operations.

The combined company would operate in 18 states, providing energy to about 6.5 million regulated customer accounts.

SCANA suddenly needed a buyer after spending $5 billion to plan and build a pair of reactors, a project abandoned a year ago Tuesday at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.

Dominion is offering more than $1 billion in rebates and rate cuts of about 7 percent to customers of SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.