Featured Image: Santee Cooper’s Cross Plant, Post, and Courier.
Today, South Carolina Senators began to debate on legislation authorizing Governor McMaster’s administration to oversee the sale of state-owned utility Santee Cooper and begin the competitive bidding process.
Many hope the legislation will pass and relieve Santee Cooper direct-serve and coop customers from paying off the state-owned utilities’ $7.2 billion debt.
In a recent survey, 71% of participants said they favored selling Santee Cooper to a private utility who can pay off the debt and get the government out of the utility business.
Over the last few weeks, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce has been holding town hall meetings across the state to discuss the sale. SCSBCC president and CEO Frank Knapp Jr. favors the sale of Santee Cooper and doesn’t feel the debt should be left in the hands of the customers.
After a lengthy testimony, Santee Cooper executives were unable to answer many questions about their future, including how the debt would be paid off without raising rates and rate projections. With the number of unanswered questions continuing to increase, many South Carolina taxpayers and Santee Cooper customers are becoming increasingly worried.
Knapp explained that with rates already increased by 5% due to the V.C. Summer project debt and more rate hikes to come, legislators need to make the right decision for South Carolina residents.
Also in attendance at the town hall meetings is Santee Cooper spokesperson Tracy Vreeland who stated that while rates may not remain the same, they will still remain competitive even though executives are unsure of how they plan to do this and are unsure of future rate projections.
Read more about the recent town hall meetings here.