A South Carolina Senate panel Wednesday asked the Santee Cooper president and CEO if the state-owned company could be sold.
Lonnie Carter answered there are a number of issues that would have to be dealt with in the wake of the abandoned nuclear reactor expansion at the VC Summer Nuclear Generating Station. “First of all, there is the issue of what does it take to clear the debt?” he said.
That debt is part of the reason why Gov. Henry McMaster’s staff have approached several out-of-state utilities about the possibility of selling Santee Cooper. McMaster said several have expressed interest in acquiring at least part of the state-owned company.
Carter told senators that there are also other various issues which would have to be addressed before a sale could go through. “Another issue that would have to be dealt with would be taking a look at, we have ash ponds” he said.,”We have sites that have been industrial sites, so you have the environmental issues that would have to be looked at.”
“It’s a big complicated operation, but it can be done,” Carter told senators on the possible sale of the utility.
Legislators will need to approve any potential sale. Some state lawmakers say they worry the governor is keeping negotiations too secret about what would be included in the sale. Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, and House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville, each signed the joint letter saying they would not support a sale until a study can assess Santee Cooper and determine its current value.
“The General Assembly and our state’s citizens must know the true value of Santee Cooper,” the pair’s joint letter to the governor stated. “We cannot allow this investment to be sold at a fire sale price if we firmly believe that is not in South Carolina’s best interest.”