I was asked about some of the illustrations used by our Energy Consumers website when it came to the Santee Cooper issues. So I looked back at the artwork and decided to give people a look at some of the visual viewpoints ECC has presented.
The most recent image was after the Senate decided to attempt reform and maintain a government-in-business stance for the utility.
It shows a house in need of repair among other houses that are looking pretty good. The message is that Santee Cooper as a company needs serious attention compared to other utilities.
In a blog I noted, “New technology can mean that a company has to spend money to stay up-to-date, or just tread water. The power industry is a poster child of technology change right now.” In other words, is Santee Cooper up-to-date; can it be up-to-date? Can it tread water?
A favorite of mine was done to counter the misdirection that was rampant about the lakes. You may remember that some folks said that lakes would have to be drained if the Santee Cooper utility was sold. I can hear you saying, “Whaaaat?” How quickly people forget some of the strange rumors that were started. Here’s the before and after truth about the lakes.
Debt has been the bane of Santee Cooperians. Two ECC images show it. One is a deep hole of debt. The rule, of course, is that once you are in too far, stop digging. Sometimes a hole is so deep that extreme help is needed.
Excessive debt can easily detract from a business’ focus. “Some business experts make the case that the amount of debt is not the issue, but the reason for debt is. ‘There is also concern that some debt may not be financing productive investment. There is evidence that a large share of the borrowing that companies are currently doing is not being used to invest in growing their own productive capacity.’” (Source)
The debt hole is still deep.
The other image illustrates what is right in front of the eyes of management when there is too much debt, especially when critical issues about grid modernization and cleaning up power generation sources need huge attention.
The debt has other ramifications on energy – how much progress can be made on behalf of customers.
Got a lot of good reaction to this one because it shows how a company can be hard-pressed when it has to match consumer needs and its financials.
A blog also pointed out the money owed by the company has to be paid by its customers, many of whom cannot tolerate added financial burdens. That blog noted the specific process established by elected officials would decide reform or sale: “The elected government of the state laid out a plan. That is good. Now for all to follow the letter and spirit of the plan.”
That plan went out the door. The state lost money for everyone in the current state of affairs.
Those are the highlights. The illustrations served to visually communicate the serious issues of Santee Cooper. With summer, though, we see the decision of the South Carolina government receding into the past while problems are coming up over the horizon.
That is the history of the Santee Cooper debate. I am on to other energy topics.