Gov. Henry McMaster said talks are still underway with several companies interested in buying state-owned power utility Santee Cooper.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday after the South Carolina Military Base Task Force briefing in Columbia, McMaster said the sale of the company could be a way Santee Cooper customers are repaid after a failed venture to build two nuclear reactors with SCANA. Customers from both companies have paid about $1.7 billion for the cancelled project.
“Without having the ratepayers ending up holding the bag for these failed reactors,” McMaster said.
McMaster said deliberations with interested companies in buying the utility are ongoing. “We’re moving as quickly, but as deliberately, as we can,” he said. “This is something you need to have all the facts on the table.”
However, a big complication is more than $7 billion in debt held by Santee Cooper (including more than $3 billion stemming from the abandoned VC Summer nuclear expansion). Legislators must also approve any sale. House Speaker Jay Lucas and Senate President pro tempore Hugh Leatherman have said they will not agree with any “fire sale” and that the offer must benefit South Carolina taxpayers who might otherwise have to cover the losses.
The governor said the sale is an issue that his office is deeply involved with. “We’re working on it every day. We’re meeting with people, having detailed discussions,” said McMaster.