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Santee Cooper

Current, former executives of Santee Cooper refuse to testify

Santee Cooper CEO Mark Bonsall told the press that on the advice of their lawyers, four current and former executives from Santee Cooper did not attend a Senate meeting this past Tuesday discussing whether to sell the business.

As the Washington Post reports:

Senators then warned the utility that if they didn’t show up Wednesday, subpoenas would be issued. Other Santee Cooper leaders promised they would show up.

It was a stark reminder that as lawmakers consider whether to sell Santee Cooper, plenty of other problems — including potential criminal charges — remain unresolved in South Carolina’s nuclear debacle.

And two weeks of hearings by the House and Senate over whether to trust Santee Cooper to reform itself, sell it to NextEra Energy of Florida or have Dominion Energy of Virginia manage it have revealed there aren’t any easy answers for what could be a $9.5 billion question.

Luke Rankin
Senator Luke Rankin heads oversight of the publicly owned utility.

Under Senator Rankin’s watch, the utility lost over $7 billion. The Horry County Senator is keeping a low profile during the hearings.

Washington Post also reported:

The Tuesday meeting was the Senate Finance Committee’s fourth as it faces a mid-March deadline to send its recommendation on Santee Cooper to the full Senate.

On Wednesday, the House budget panel hears from Dominion. The Senate committee heard from Dominion last week. The Virginia company has faced few questions and released the fewest details about its plan.

At the same time the Senate committee met Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee was talking just across Statehouse grounds. The House’s budget committee, which also faces a mid-March deadline, heard from NextEra CEO Jim Robo about his company’s $9.5 billion offer to buy Santee Cooper. NextEra would pay off the $4 billion debt from the never-built nuclear plants, providing $541 million to settle a lawsuit over increased rates because of the nuclear debacle and a promise to lock in rates for four years.

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About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area.David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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