Santee Cooper’s Board of Directors cannot be removed by the South Carolina Governor or other policymakers. A Charleston Post and Courier’s November 30 editorial suggests that be changed to cure Santee Cooper’s ills. The P&C notes Santee Cooper’s seeming disregard for directives from the legislature, “playing fast and loose with the facts.”
Removing the Board is one step, but not a cure. There are billions more reasons the P&C editorial missed that a new board does not easily fix. (By the way, ECC pointed out in a previous blog that board members can make the proper decision on their own and resign.)
Billions in debt is the biggest risk to the company and customers. The P&C editorial rightfully points out the extra $100 million of debt issued by Santee Cooper. The newspaper called it, “a bit of a technical question.” No. In fact, Santee Cooper should have known the state’s concern and directives, presume it did know if it is as wise as claimed.
State officials depend on a state agency to know and follow the rules. Shuffling deck chairs with new state-aligned members keeps South Carolina in the utility business. How has that worked out so far?
A “valuable state commodity” is what the P&C editorial calls Santee Cooper. In fact, Santee Cooper’s value is under water. Check ECC’s blog about defining an asset. Santee Cooper is like the worst of the housing crisis some ten years ago. Santee Cooper is an asset in nostalgia only.
Getting Santee Cooper to reform itself to operate competently is a low bar at best. Customers of South Carolina – policymakers in South Carolina – deserve more than just OK. And that can be done.
Change. Wholesale change for the better. Look forward, do not repeatedly debate the past.
The opportunity is with NextEra’s strategic and operational experience.
- NextEra erases – defeases – Santee Cooper debt.
- NextEra brings a solid record of renewable deployment.
- NextEra has a record of reducing rates, as with its purchase of Gulf Power.
- NextEra on-boards immense talent for customers and the environment.
- NextEra fixes the “swiss cheese rate freeze” the supposed reform brought customers.
South Carolina Legislature: Save your time, fix Santee Cooper, make the electric system better, and get the state out of the power business. All at once. A serious discussion and sale with NextEra gets that done.