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Sell Santee Cooper? Or Give The Board Health Benefits?

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Santee Cooper
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Legislators from the Upstate and the Pee Dee have gone on record. They would like to sell Santee Cooper. The troubled utility is $9 billion in debt.

In December 2020, even powerful President Pro Tempore Emeritus Hugh Leatherman of Florence sounded off. “Absent meaningful reform that includes a new board and increased oversight, I see no choice but to divest the state of what is increasingly not an asset but an albatross,” Leatherman wrote.

A considerable number of Representatives and State Senators also want the utility sold.

Luke Rankin of Horry County, the utility’s oversight chairman, says he has a plan to reform the utility, however.

Rankin met with the S.C. Judiciary subcommittee yesterday offering one of his ideas on how to reform the utility.

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Writes Fitsnews of Columbia,

Rankin’s bill would extend government health care benefits to all Santee Cooper board members (benefits these members were previously receiving extra-legally). In other words, Rankin’s legislation rewards Santee Cooper board members for previously appropriating unto themselves a taxpayer-funded benefit they were not entitled to receive.

Unbelievable, right?

Steal from the store … get store credit.

On August 24, 2020, according to a notice tucked into the Powerpoint materials for the utility’s Monday, board meeting, Santee Cooper was informed on Thursday, August 13, 2020 that the S.C. Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) had launched an investigation into what it described as “board members’ eligibility to participate in the state health plan.” Specifically, the investigation focused on whether board members were eligible to receive coverage under the plan … or not. According to Santee Cooper, the investigation was launched after PEBA “received an inquiry.” The case must have been pretty cut-and-dried because the investigation is already complete. The verdict? “After its investigation PEBA determined Santee Cooper’s board members are not eligible to participate in the state health plan and coverage was discontinued effective December 31, 2020,” the Santee Cooper board notice continued.

As MyrtleBeachSC News reported last year, Rankin is business partners with David Singleton, who sits on the Santee Cooper Board.

As such, one must ask concerning the $9 billion V.C. Summer Nuclear Disaster, what did David Singleton know and when did he know it?

When did he tell Luke Rankin? How long did Rankin know about the disaster before he alerted us?

After all, Rankin is the Utility’s Oversight Chairman.

Extending health benefits to the Santee Cooper Board is no measure of reform. It simply rewards bad behavior.

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David Hucks 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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