The South Carolina Senate made its call against protecting electric utility customers recently by keeping Santee Cooper. That decision is being reported for just what it is outside of the state – a vote to dismiss an opportunity, a vote against business. It is a vote to maintain a quaint relic versus embrace a modern energy future. A vote for government-in-business. A vote against advancing a utility that needs advancing.

Congratulations.

Forbes magazine ran an op-ed called, How One Red State Lost The Opportunity To Sell A Debt-Ridden, State-Owned Utility. That kind of publicity will come back to haunt South Carolina. By not paying attention to the tenets of energy, finance, and the economy, policymakers are saying to business, “Pay no attention to our state. We really don’t understand or care about business processes.”

Declining a sale – thumbing a nose at free enterprise – says that Senators feel their own redistricting is more critical than protecting citizens’ energy future. (Policymakers faced a choice about this.)

Okay, got the message. Lots of people got the message.

The vote was to have the worst house in the energy neighborhood. That is apparently more important than meeting a challenging future.

The Forbes op-ed says, “If South Carolina lawmakers adjourn the current legislative session without even reestablishing the process under which Santee Cooper can be sold, it will leave Santee Cooper ratepayers and all South Carolina taxpayers in a financially precarious position.”

A General Assembly conference committee might try to reach a resolution on a sale versus reform. There could be a deadlock, though. Then nothing changes. It would be a win for the past. “Reforms” currently in the bill would not be implemented. Santee Cooperians would continue to be  unaccountable as in the past.

Deadlock – it could be the ultimate desire of Santee Cooper, and maybe those who could not understand the compelling reasons for a sale.

After all the effort, zilch. Years to decide … not to decide.

As Forbes says of the failure to sell, “…it will leave Santee Cooper ratepayers and all South Carolina taxpayers in a financially precarious position.”

True, and apparently okay with policymakers. The logic of customer protection is seemingly irrelevant to policymakers. They voted to make the state irrelevant in the eyes of energy and business folks, too.