Two years have passed since SCANA and Santee Cooper pulled the plug on the V.C. Summer nuclear debacle – leaving Santee Cooper customers to cover its $4+ billion in nuclear debt for decades. Now, following SCANA’s sale, Santee Cooper’s leaders are trying to convince South Carolinians that the utility can fix itself.
Here are some important points and questions going forward:
Santee Cooper had years to reform itself, but did not. Instead, it has hired a PR consultant to reform its image, kept many of the same board members who rubber-stamped the V.C. Summer debacle, and rejected calls for more accountability and transparency.
Most recently, Santee Cooper surprised legislators and regular South Carolinians by hiring a new CEO and Deputy CEO team for more than $2 million per year, all without sharing any plan of how to help ratepayers or keep the utility from making MORE bad decisions. If Santee Cooper can reform itself, then why hasn’t it done so already?
Santee Cooper’s leaders may not have a plan for reform, but they do have a PR plan for convincing people that nothing should change – Santee Cooper recently launched a $20,000 PR campaign! And guess who’s paying for it? That’s right. Santee Cooper Customers! https://www.
Santee Cooper’s leaders may not have a plan for how to reform the utility, but since Santee Cooper’s customers provide all of its income and its board can raise rates with zero oversight, it DOES have a plan to pay for:
The $4+ billion V.C. Summer hole in the ground → RAISE RATES
Any additional generation capacity needed before 2030 → RAISE RATES
Any unexpected coal ash clean-up costs → RAISE RATES
Any new carbon taxes or penalties imposed → RAISE RATES
Any other unanticipated expenses → RAISE RATES
Santee Cooper’s leaders may not have a plan for reform, but they do have a plan for CYA. Santee Cooper paid more than $9 million in legal fees in 2018 because it chose to protect board members and employees under investigation for the V.C. Summer nuclear debacle by taking care of their high-priced legal fees. And guess who’s paying for it? That’s right. Santee Cooper Customers! https://www.
Former SCANA customers have seen some rate relief, given Dominion’s purchase of the company. But it’s been two years and Santee Cooper and electric co-op customers are still on the hook for their utility’s bad decisions. When will Santee Cooper and co-op customers have assurance that they won’t have to pay any more for a hole in the ground?
South Carolinians deserve an end to this mess. It’s time to sell Santee Cooper.
Please let us know if we can answer any further questions.
SC Club for Growth