The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has granted early termination of the antitrust waiting period for Dominion Energy’s proposed $14.6bn SCANA merger deal.

The 30-day waiting period under the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act is one of the key conditions required for completing the transaction.

According to Dominion Energy, the stock-for-stock merger will strengthen its position in the country and improve its presence in the Southeast US markets.

“The company will increase its electric generating portfolio from 5,800MW to 31,400MW.”

SCANA currently services approximately 1.6 million electric and natural gas residential areas and businesses in South Carolina and North Carolina.

The merger transaction was announced on 3 January and is expected to close in 2018. Following completion, SCANA will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Energy.

The integrated entity would operate in 18 US states from Connecticut to California and would deliver energy to approximately 6.5 million regulated customer accounts in eight states.

In addition, the company will increase its electric generating portfolio from  5,800MW to 31,400MW and gain 93,600 miles of electric transmission and distribution (T&D) lines, as well as a natural gas pipeline network totalling 106,400 miles.

It would also operate natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of capacity.

The proposed merger is also subject to the approval of SCANA’s shareholders and a review and approval from the public service commissions of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Authorisation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is also required.