South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), primarily an energy firm, was formed by the merger of dozens of companies over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first, the Charleston Gas Light Company, was formed in 1846. During the nineteenth century SCE&G’s predecessor companies engaged in electric lighting and electric streetcars. In 1894 a powerhouse owned by a predecessor company (Columbia Water Power Company) drove the world’s first electrically powered textile mill.
In 1930 the Lexington Power Company completed a dam on the Saluda River, which was the world’s largest man-made barrier built for power production. The Broad River Power Company adopted the name South Carolina Electric & Gas Company in 1937, and five years later Lexington Water Power Company merged with SCE&G.
SCE&G became fully independent in 1946 after briefly being held by the General Public Utilities Corporation, and it became the first South Carolina corporation to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In the post–World War II years, the company built major plants and established a natural gas company. In 1959 SCE&G joined with three other utilities to build the first electricity-producing nuclear power plant in the Southeast at Parr, South Carolina. In 1971 erstwhile archrivals SCE&G and Santee Cooper began a licensing process to build the V. C. Summer Nuclear Station.
SCANA Corporation, a diversified holding company, was born on December 31, 1984, with SCE&G as the flagship company. Although SCANA has ventured into such enterprises as telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and power-plant management, its primary business in the twenty-first century continued to be providing electricity and natural gas for commercial and residential customers.
Pierce, Robert A. SCANA’s First 150 Years: Building on Success. Columbia, S.C.: SCANA, 1996.