April Fools’! It’s Santee Cooper reform again. A column in the Post and Courier mounted a defense of Santee Cooper reform efforts.
A selective defense, too.
Real reform gives the PSC final say over Santee Cooper rates, just for one. Accountability. Reality. Do that and Santee Cooper’s bond rating is challenged at best, perhaps? A change in ratings can reduce flexibility to borrow. Money is the elephant in the room for Santee Cooper.
The op-ed paints all IOUs (investor-owned utilities) with one broad brush.
The sole bidder for Santee Cooper (out of hundreds of utilities) brings new power generation online every year.
Conversely, Santee Cooper recently was unable to fire-up its own coal units it knows so well, and had to buy power from … ready for it? …an IOU. The Santee Cooper CEO thanked the IOU in a board meeting, too.
The preference of Santee Cooper champions is to sow doubt. No need to prove Santee Cooper would be better outside of state ownership. Just has to throw up the smokescreen of doubt on behalf of this essential state service – running a power company.
The op-ed is a useful punch list of what creates fear in Santee Cooper acolytes. The result is to spin the (lack of) reform message. If the legislators buy the spin and keep a utility company, it won’t matter how Santee Cooper performs – the state will be stuck with it.
The op-ed clearly reveals what terrifies Santee Cooper: It will be found out. So try to buy some time, because, after all, Santee Cooper only has to convince people it can reform for the next several months, until a General Assembly vote is over—or never happens! Then … April Fools’!
However, and check this, here’s the end of the op-ed: “My point is that whether to sell Santee Cooper must depend on whether a sale means better rates and better reliability and cleaner energy, now and in the long term.”