Gov. Henry McMaster said discussions continue on the sale of state-owned power utility Santee Cooper, although no would-be buyer has been willing to commit to even a potential sale publicly three months after he first floated the idea.
“We’re still on track to do all we can to make some kind of a deal,” McMaster told reporters last week after an unrelated press conference.
McMaster said he has been keeping others in state government in the loop on the sale. “We also met with legislative leaders to keep them abreast of what we’re doing,” McMaster said.
The governor has been trying to sell the utility since August, roughly a week after Santee Cooper and its partner South Carolina Electric & Gas decided to end further construction on a nuclear expansion at the VC Summer generating station in Fairfield County.
The governor said there are companies interested in the state-owned utility. “(We’re) meeting with them. Discussing it with them,” he said.
Four energy companies so far have expressed interest in Santee Cooper. They are Atlanta-based Southern Company, Charlotte-based Duke Energy, Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra and Richmond-based Dominion. However, no company has committed to restarting the project entirely and all appear hesitant at acquiring Santee Cooper’s $2 billion in financing debt from the project, which the governor insists must be a part of the utility’s sale.
Any sale would require the legislature’s approval. The leaders of the state House and Senate, House Speaker Jay Lucas and President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman respectively, have said they will not sign off on any deal without more assurances and details from the company or Governor’s Office.