Gov. Henry McMaster said Thursday that his office is continuing to negotiate with several companies interested in buying state-owned power utility Santee Cooper to help cover its losses in a massive failed nuclear project.
However, The State newspaper reports the governor insisted the buyer would also need to take on Santee Cooper’s $8 billion in debt as a condition. “We’re not going to ask for the state’s taxpayers to pay a penny in these negotiations, or in any agreement,” he said after a State Fiscal Accountability Authority meeting Thursday.
The governor said he’s in talks with five Fortune 500 companies about selling off all or part of Santee Cooper. The legislature would need to approve any deal.
Santee Cooper is reeling from its abandonment of two new reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in Fairfield County. The utility is still working on a plan for how it would repay the $4 billion in debt from the project. CEO Lonnie Carter announced last week he will step down from his post.
McMaster said, despite the debt, Santee Cooper “also has assets” which could be appealing to a potential buyer. “Everything is in play,” he said. “There are no options that have been taken off the table.”