South Carolina’s state-owned utility is postponing this month’s meeting during confusion over its leadership.
Santee Cooper announced Friday it wouldn’t be meeting on Monday as planned. The uncertainty comes amid a showdown between South Carolina’s governor and legislative leaders over leadership of the utility, under fire since the failure of a nuclear construction project in which it was the minority owner.
Gov. Henry McMaster has said he wants to sell Santee Cooper to alleviate its debt related to the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station debacle. He picked an ally as a new board chairman. The appointment requires Senate approval, but senators ended the session without voting on it. The Senate has sued over the move.
Also Friday, Moody’s Investor Service downgraded the rating on the utility’s revenue bonds.
Governor Mcmaster called Santee Cooper a “rogue” agency after the canceled board meeting.
McMaster says the interim president did not have the authority to do so.
Governor Henry McMaster, (R) South Carolina – “I’m unhappy to say I’m not expecting miracles, but at some point, these state agencies and particularly Santee Cooper, have just got to obey the law and do the right thing. They have to let the taxpayers and all who are interested, and many are vitally interested, they have to present the facts and information so we can make important decisions concerning the future of our state. This is a rogue agency. It’s acting against the law. It’s unaccountable. It’s not transparent. It’s operating against the Freedom of Information Act and their own statutes and bylaws, and it’s got to stop.”
Gov. McMaster goes on to say, “The executives, the interim CEO and anyone else should abide by the law and provide that information and should not be canceling meetings by fiat, unauthorized, unlawful, in what appears to be an effort to subvert accountability, responsibility and transparency. It’s really hard to believe that a state agency is being illegally defiant in such a way as this.”
“This is a state agency, semi-independent for various reasons, but it is a state agency. It’s just, it’s outrageous that a state agency is defying the law as this one is” said Gov. McMaster.