Potential buyer emerges for Santee Cooper

On Thursday, Mike Couick, the CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, told the House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee that his group would consider buying Santee Cooper.

The Electric Co-op of South Carolina is the largest electric distribution system in the state – and Santee Cooper’s largest customer.  The group is comprised of 20 different electric co-ops that provide electricity to more than 1.5 million South Carolinians in all 46 counties.

Right now, Couick says there is a lack of consensus among the 20 co-ops about a sale of Santee Cooper.

The Electric Co-op of South Carolina has a contract to buy power from Santee Cooper until 2058.  The contract is worth about $50 billion, and may be Santee Cooper’s single largest asset.

Couick is urging legislators to review a list of Santee Cooper’s assets and determine if any of them would be off the table in a potential sale.

Gov. Henry McMaster is among those supporting the sale of Santeee Cooper.  The state-owned utility has $4.3 billion in debt from the failed expansion of the V.C. Summer nuclear facility.  It also has $4 billion in other debt.

Without a deal, McMaster says the state’s electric cooperatives will be required to pay 70-percent of the debt over the next 30 years.  The Governor says he will not sign any deal that saddles taxpayers or Santee Cooper’s customers with debt.


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