Santee Cooper Resource Center

November 2, 2020

July 31, 2017. That was the infamous day that investor-owned SCANA and state-owned Santee Cooper announced that they would abandon Units 2 and 3 of the VC Summer nuclear project in Fairfield County. SCANA had investors to bear the enormous debt left behind. Santee Cooper had only ratepayers to turn to.

Since then, Palmetto Promise has shined a light on the best path for Santee Cooper customers and the taxpayers of the Palmetto State: a sale to private enterprise. Here is the collection of our award-winning research to date:

Most Recent: How much do you remember since the V.C. Summer meltdown? Answer these 10 questions to find out why it still matters in 2021. 

Research Reports:

Analysis Finds Santee Cooper at Mercy of Credit Market (September 24, 2020), written as a Memorandum to state leaders by Dr. Katie Grace of Clemson Economics Associates, presents the current financial status and future outlook for the state-owned utility.

After the V.C. Summer Iceberg – Which Lifeboat is Safe? (January 2, 2020) is a review of the current state of affairs at Santee Cooper and the options available for its future. As the chart below indicates, this paper focuses on the situation at Santee Cooper post-V.C. Summer collapse, the responses of Santee Cooper leadership to the crisis, and the options available to the legislature.

Santee Cooper vs. SCANA/SCE&G: Which Ratepayers Will Pay More?  (June 27, 2018) While much of the failed V.C. Summer nuclear debacle’s attention has been focused on SCE&G parent company SCANA and its customers, this economic analysis finds it is Santee Cooper ratepayers who face a much more uncertain and unsettling future.

Santee Cooper Rate Increase Projections (May 10, 2018) uses newer data from Santee Cooper reports to provide a more up to date estimate of future rates.

Santee Cooper’s Uncertain Future (March 20, 2018) was our original comprehensive study of not only the history of Santee Cooper but of future electric rates that must be charged to cover the VC Summer debacle debt.

Explainers & Graphics:

Santee Cooper’s Maneuvers (February 4, 2020) As the SC legislature considers the 3 options for Santee Cooper’s future, the last ditch maneuvers, illustrated by darts in our cartoon, are an unsafe and unnecessary harbor into which to navigate Santee Cooper.

Two Years Later: Santee Cooper Still Doesn’t Get It (July 31, 2019) is our analysis on the 2-year anniversary of the V.C. Summer debacle. We released a video, graphic, and cartoon cataloging all the Santee Cooper spending and debt since the program was scrapped.

Titanic Illustration (January 19, 2019) This one speaks for itself.

Failed V.C. Summer Debt-At-A-Glance (June 4, 2018) This graphic shows that the amount of debt incurred by Santee Cooper for the failed V.C. Summer Reactor is more than South Carolina’s entire annual budget.

The Future of Santee Cooper (August 21, 2018) This animated video explains how we got in the situation we’re in with Santee Cooper, and where we go from here.

The Santee Cooper Quiz (June 1, 2018) How much do you know about Santee Cooper? How will the failure of V.C. Summer impact your family’s bottom line? You can take this quiz to find out. (Update coming soon.)

Peering into the V.C. Summer Hole (May 29, 2018) This is a stunning graphical interpretation of the Santee Cooper vs. SCANA/SCE&G report. Econometric analysis simplified to one chart.

Statement Shock: A Santee Cooper Utility Bill (May 10, 2018) shows in a one-page utility billing statement format the comprehensive picture of the financial situation at Santee Cooper and what that means to the individual customer.

Santee Cooper by the Numbers (May 1, 2018) Here are all the numbers related to Santee Cooper and VC Summer with rate increase scenarios in a one-page format.

Santee Cooper Report Card (May 1, 2018) This one-pager provides details from Santee Cooper financial reports as compiled by our economists.

V.C. Summer’s Waste (April 1, 2018) Our first cartoon illustrating what Santee Cooper customers are paying for with the increased rates.

Media Mentions:

Op-Ed: One Cheer for the Outcome in the Jessica Cook Case (August 27, 2020), written by PPI Senior Fellow Dr. Oran Smith, it was originally published in The Post & Courier. The graphic was created by PPI to accompany, but was not included in the Post & Courier’s publication.

Op-Ed: Practical meets Principle on Santee Cooper (June 12, 2020) was published in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal by PPI Senior Fellow Dr. Oran Smith. This Op-Ed analyzes the Santee Cooper situation in light of COVID-19, showing that a sale of the state-owned utility makes even more sense in light of the crisis.

California Lawmakers Propose Government Takeover Of Private Utility, While South Carolina Officials Look To Sell A Palmetto State-Owned Power Co. (February 27, 2020) Palmetto Promise’s Oran Smith and board chair Phil Hughes are quoted in this Forbes pieces comparing California and South Carolina’s approach to their utilities.

Op-Ed: The Myths about Selling Santee Cooper (January 16, 2019) was published by The State Newspaper, written by PPI Senior Fellow Dr. Oran Smith.

POAs Asked to Support Santee Cooper Sale by State (January 14, 2019) PPI’s research on the consumer costs associated with Santee Cooper’s debt is mentioned in The Coastal Observer.

Santee Cooper Customers are vulnerable too (July 1, 2018) an Editorial in The Post & Courier highlighted Palmetto Promise research showing that Santee Cooper’s roughly 180,000 ratepayers could end up paying as much as $52,000 per customer.

Greenville News: Upstate legislators speak out (May 27, 2018) Senator Ross Turner and Rep. Jason Elliott explain why Santee Cooper isn’t just a Lowcountry problem, citing PPI research.

LETTER: Santee Cooper costs will only rise (May 8, 2018) In a letter to The State’s Editorial Board, PPI Economist Dr. Katie Grace argues that the Santee Cooper ‘wound’ will only get worse with time, and ratepayers will bear the debt burden.

Report Questions Santee Cooper’s Proposed Rate Increase (March 22, 2018) WLTX-19 covered the release of our 49-page report Santee Cooper’s Uncertain Future. 

Failed Nuclear Project will raise customer’s bills, Santee Cooper Says (March 21, 2018) The State Newspaper covered Palmetto Promise’s report, forcing Santee Cooper to reveal their rate increase.

Santee Cooper Electric Rates will rise sharply because of nuclear project (March 20, 2018) The Post & Courier reported the findings uncovered in Palmetto Promise’s 49-page report.