A “so-called Santee Cooper ‘reform’ bill” is how the press frames it. (Post and Courier) The bill passed the South Carolina House and Senate unanimously. The Governor has not said if he will acquiesce and sign it, saying, “I see no way that that organization can work its way out of that debt.”

Looking for a flurry of action to make things right with Santee Cooper? Let’s see.

The Santee Cooper board has to be gradually replaced … by December 31, 2024. Really, this big of a problem and three years to get out of Dodge.

Lack of oversight and accountability have been the twin pillars of Santee Cooper’s multi-billion-dollar disfunction.  Has this been fixed with “reform?”

What the legislature has done is put Santee Cooper under the care of a lame duck Board. If you owned a business, would you fire someone and then leave them in charge for three years?

The law requires more watchers over the professionals at the utility. More time invested. More time away from other state issues.

The law requires the debt to still be paid by the customers that management committed to billions in debt. The debt clock runs for customers with every monthly bill. That is apparently okay with reform.

Other decisions?

  • What about health benefits for board members? (Essential, right?)
  • How is board diversity going?
  • How has the grid been hardened for tropical storms as with neighboring utilities?
  • What about new solar power, done in a meaningful way?
  • What about transmission and distribution upgrades for a modern grid?
  • What about offshore wind possibilities?
  • How about smart meters for customers?
  • How will debt be reduced – where’s the plan?

The Post and Courier news story reports: “‘Santee Cooper will be subject to the same scrutiny and accountability that every other state agency is subject to,’ [House Speaker] Lucas said during a speech on the House floor June 8.”

How about making Santee Cooper accountable in the way other utilities are? Maybe even competitive like other companies are, something that sharpens performance? Those are likely too much to expect.