Editorial: Santee Cooper trips on its own lies

Editorial: Santee Cooper trips on its own lies

 

 

 

Lexington County Chronicle
April 16, 2020

Friends, we can’t make this stuff up.  Santee Cooper executives, like those at SC Electric & Gas, have lied all along.  Last week state lawmakers caught them red-handed.

Santee Cooper has been trying to get lawmakers to ditch plans to sell or contract management of the taxpayer-owned utility.

Lawmakers consider Santee Cooper’s rocky relationship with Central Electric Power Cooperatives as a stumbling block to continued state ownership.

Central Electric buys much of the utility’s power for Mid-Carolina Electric in Lexington County and other SC electric cooperatives.  Legislators want Santee Cooper to behave.

“It is a shame that the leaders of what was once one of this state’s greatest assets suffer from such arrogance and ambivalence,” House Speaker jay Lucas wrote in a letter to Santee Cooper CEO Mark Bonsall and Board Chairman Dan Ray.

Santee Cooper sent emails to some lawmakers claiming that the utility had won over Central Electric on plans to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

None of this was true, SC Small Business Chamber CEO Frank Knapp wrote in a message to his statewide members.

Caught with lying, a Santee Cooper spokesperson admitted that the email claims were “premature and presumptive.”

Knapp wrote that Santee Cooper’s $8 billion debt started with previous CEO Lonnie Carter.

He led his directors down the path of $4 billion in construction debt for its failed nuclear power project with SCE&G.

Carter and SCE&G told investigators, bond holders, lawmakers and the public that the nuclear project was progressing well although they knew it wasn’t.

On July 30, 2017, both abandoned the $9 billion project.

A month later, Carter retired with $800,000 a year.

SCE&G execs have since been charged with defrauding investors and federal investigators may find Carter guilty on fraud and deception charges.

Are you as disgusted as we and state lawmakers are?

Email us with your thoughts at JerryBellune@yahoo.com.