Breaking: Santee Cooper econometric analysis coming next week

March 13, 2018

Oran P. Smith, Ph.D

Senior Fellow

On Tuesday, March 20, Palmetto Promise Institute will present its analysis of the current state and future prospects for Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility known officially as The South Carolina Public Service Authority.

Palmetto Promise scholars and a specially-empaneled team of research economists will present its report “Santee Cooper’s Uncertain Future: A Historical, Policy and Financial Analysis of the South Carolina Public Service Authority.”

SCANA Corporation and Santee Cooper announced on July 31, 2017 that they would abandon the project expanding the VC Summer nuclear station in Fairfield County. The implications for SCANA are more significant in level of exposure, but unlike SCANA, Santee Cooper is a state agency and cannot turn to stockholders for relief from creditors.

Santee Cooper ratepayers have already been hit with five rate hikes and expenditures of $540 million for the now mothballed project, but the abandoned VC Summer reactors will likely never generate sellable electricity. That means even more financial liability in the billions of dollars, a liability that must be paid by someone.

Questions continue to swirl about the future of Santee Cooper. Legislators, editorial writers and ratepayers have called for an in-depth analysis of Santee Cooper’s prospects. The specific rates that would need to be charged ratepayers to pay off the estimated $4 billion borrowed by the government-run utility is the burning question that must be answered. Our independent economists will reveal their projections on Tuesday.

Stay tuned.


Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission