Featured Image Source: S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce Facebook
Last week, the Senate committee responsible for studying the sale of Santee Cooper, not to be confused with the joint evaluation and recommendation committee, met for the first time. This committee consists of Senators Nikki Setzler, Shane Massey, Luke Rankin, Bradley Hutto, Larry Grooms, Paul Campbell, Tom Davis, Ronnie Sabb, and Margie Bright Matthews.
As they continue their meetings to discuss the potential sale of Santee Cooper, more South Carolina residents continue to speak out on the issue.
The latest to voice their concerns is Frank Knapp Jr., president, and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. In an op-ed to The Island Packet, a Hilton Head publication, Knapp addressed the massive debt owed by Santee Cooper and his hope that lawmakers will sell the state-owned utility to a privately-owned utility.
Frustrated by lawmakers stalling and putting off making a decision, Knapp expressed his concern that Santee Cooper’s direct serve and co-op customers will be responsible for paying off the $8 billion debt.
When SCE&G and Santee Cooper abandoned the V.C. Summer Project in 2017, which both parties willingly participated in, customers of the utilities were left with billions of dollars of debt, no new electricity generation, and a big hole in the ground.
Knapp went on to compare Santee Cooper’s current situation to that of SCE&G after abandoning the V.C. Summer Project. While SCE&G only owed $5 billion, legislators took action and resolved the crisis, pointing out that the utility’s customers weren’t responsible for the debt and instead pushed for a 15% rate cut. To compare, Santee Cooper owes over $8 billion and has yet to address paying off this debt.
With no plan for the future, Santee Cooper will have no choice but to turn to its direct serve and co-op customers to pay off this debt through increased rates for decades. Only if Santee Cooper is sold to one of the private companies that have offered to pay off the debt and lower rates, it’s customers will be spared from paying the $8 billion debt.
To read the full letter visit our source here.