On Thursday, The Post & Courier reported that Justice Jean Toal denied Santee Cooper’s request to stop the case against them from remaining a class-action lawsuit. This was a severe blow to Santee Cooper’s court fight over whether or not their customers should shoulder the burden of billions in debt from their failed nuclear project.
Before the bell rang on the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that set the stage for a potential sale of Santee Cooper in 2020. The bill stipulated that the Department of Administration would receive proposals to (1) sell the state-owned utility, (2) management offers, and (3) a proposal from Santee Cooper to reform themselves.
As the South Carolina General Assembly moves ever closer to receiving a report from the state Department of Administration on the future of Santee Cooper, the South Carolina Public Service Authority, it is time for a basic review of the current state of affairs with this state agency and the options available for its future.
The manufacturing process for Century Aluminum is extremely electricity dependent, requiring at full capacity 400 megawatts of electricity per year. That level of use (400 megawatts would power 80,000 homes) means that electricity is about 40% of the cost of operating the plant, its single highest expense. Unfortunately, high energy costs risk putting it out of business.
Earlier this summer, Palmetto Promise Institute conducted an in-depth study of aspects of Santee Cooper’s finances. Due to the opaque nature of Santee Cooper’s finances, our research was based on Santee Cooper published sources, legal filings, correspondence to elected officials, legislative hearings, and the reporting of The State and The Post & Courier.
Two years ago today, Santee Cooper and SCE&G announced that they were abandoning construction of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station units 2 and 3.
Throughout the fall of 2017, as another football season came and went, PPI watched and waited for someone—anyone—to step up for Santee Cooper customers. Thanks to the actions of two special legislative committees, the public did learn a lot about the demise of V.C. Summer, but there was a clear message: tackle SCE&G first, then Santee Cooper.
Thursday, the South Carolina Senate made significant progress on the Santee Cooper issue. A Joint Resolution, H.4287, passed by a vote of 42-1. It now goes back to the South Carolina House of Representatives.
Why do key business and government leaders believe a sale of Santee Cooper is in the best interest of consumers?
PPI’s priorities got a boost this week when key players made it clear that the time for action has come. Kudos to them.