State Sen. Ronnie Cromer, R-Newberry, suspects legislation regarding state-owned utility Santee Cooper will take up most of the focus in this upcoming legislative session, much the same way that SCE&G power rates dominated discussion at the South Carolina Statehouse this past year,
“We still have not finalized anything with the Santee Cooper and SCE&G debacle,” Cromer said. “That took up most all of the last session and I fully anticipate Santee Cooper will do the same in the next session.”
A joint House-Senate committee will consider proposals on how to address Santee Cooper’s roughly $8 billion in debt, including potential sale to a private company. The committee, which also includes Gov. Henry McMaster, is fielding offers now and will begin considering them in February.
“We’ve actually got a committee meeting right now between the House and Senate together trying to decide should we sell Santee Cooper or should we continue to operate it as a state-run utility? I see that taking up probably the bulk of our time next year,” he said.
After SCE&G and Santee Cooper decided in 2017 to abandon completion of the nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County, legislators took action to protect ratepayers from having to continue to pay construction costs on a project that wouldn’t be completed. Legislators also tried to take action to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.
“We have made some positive successes with the SCE&G side of the house but we have not even had time yet to address Santee Cooper,” he said.