MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCBD) – The future of Santee Cooper, a company that provides power to millions of South Carolina customers, is becoming more clear.
The Department of Administration has released a long anticipated report, detailing what they see as the best options for rescuing the company from the debt it incurred after scrapping two major nuclear power plant projects.
Three options have been presented: sell, manage, or reform.
If lawmakers go with the first option, Santee Cooper would be sold to Florida based company Next-Era.
The second option would transfer management of Santee Cooper and its assets to power giant Dominion Energy.
The third option would leave Santee Cooper autonomous, and responsible for reforming itself.
The S.C. State House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have 30 days to recommend which path to pursue.
Coastal Conservation League Energy Program Director, Eddy Moore, says that there are pros and cons with each of the options:
“It’s going to take us some time to digest this, but our initial read is that all the proposals are a step forward. All of them retire the most inefficient coal plant in the near future, and build significantly more solar energy. And that is done for economic reasons, because solar energy is becoming so low cost.”
Governor Henry McMaster and House Speaker Jay Lucas have both weighed in on the proposal.
McMaster issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying:
“The interests of South Carolina’s ratepayers and taxpayers – as well as our people’s economic prosperity – must be first and foremost in the minds of members of the General Assembly. Every South Carolinian will either be financially burdened or protected by their decision.
Ratepayers will either continue paying for two reactors which were never built, or they will get back what they’ve already paid. Taxpayers will either be off the hook for the billions of dollars of debt, or burdened for generations. Our state will either gain a vibrant new addition to our economic prosperity, or will remain stagnated in the status quo.
The politics of indecision is unacceptable. The time to act is now.”
Lucas echoed the sentiment, detailing the gravity of the decision:
“The actions taken in the coming weeks and months are of significant consequence, and we will not take them lightly. I am hopeful we can determine the best outcome that will protect our citizens as well as the momentum of our economy.”