State-owned Santee Cooper is billions in debt, and it’s growing at a rate of $1 million each day. That’s a debt South Carolina customers will have to pay through higher electricity rates.
As a Santee Cooper spokesperson told WMBF-TV (Myrtle Beach) News recently, “…taxpayers are not responsible for Santee Cooper debt. We are able to recoup that through rates.”
The Senate has begun debating a bill, S. 678, that would start the process for the sale of Santee Cooper. The bill calls for a competitive bidding process and criteria for the evaluation of offers.
S. 678 calls for the South Carolina Department of Administration to conduct a competitive bidding process for the sale of Santee Cooper.
The Department must evaluate the bid responses and consider certain criteria, including:
- Financial capability of each bidder
- Bidder’s ability to completely eliminate all of Santee Cooper’s debts and bonds
- Agreement to provide meaningful short-term and long-term rate relief for all customer classes
- Provision of reasonable financial and other protections for Santee Cooper employees and retirees
- Proposed location for its headquarters post-acquisition
- Agreement to with all applicable federal and state environmental protections regarding Lakes Marion and Moultrie, their rivers and tributaries, and other recreational assets of Santee Cooper, including a covenant to maintain the present status quo regarding these lakes
- Agreement to partner with the state for future economic development projects.
The legislation establishes a process for the Department to present its findings to both the Senate and House of Representatives, each of which must approve a sale.
Please support the sale of Santee Cooper by writing to your Senator today.