Santee Cooper has its work cut out for itself given the actions of two other South Carolina utilities. We’ll see if the Santee Cooper organization can rise to the occasion, or even if it is asked to rise to the occasion by the state.
Dominion Energy had to recently modify its Integrated Resource Plan and close “its coal-fired plants in the state within the decade while also relying more on renewable sources of power. In particular, the utility plans to shut down two coal plants by 2028, while shifting a third to natural gas by 2030.” (Source)
For Duke Energy, South Carolina rejected “Duke’s long-term power plant construction plans.” The company will need to make adjustments, specifically adding more solar and storage. (Source)
Both of the changes can be credited to the South Carolina Public Service Commission. Now that the PSC has stepped-up analysis like this it faces its next hurdle. Namely…
This is a new world of accountability for Santee Cooper. “Reform” legislation puts Santee Cooper under most state regulations except for a final say on rates (which is kind of important for customers, think?). The PSC now approves or rejects the Santee Cooper IRP. The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff will also oversee Santee Cooper, specifically board decisions.
Watch for these issues:
1) Santee Cooper should get the same thorough scrutiny as other utilities. Will it?
2) Santee Cooper must show it can measure-up, no excuses. Past behavior will make this especially fascinating.
Santee Cooper still doesn’t have to be accountable like IOU’s, but even though South Carolina pulled up short on that count, it will be interesting to see if Santee Cooper lives up to expectations.
IRPs in South Carolina are in one place, here, in the South Carolina Energy Office.
The feature image is an impression of the work to do at Santee Cooper. The question is whether the company is the best house in the neighborhood of utilities.