SC legislators protect open, transparent debate on Santee Cooper’s future

SC legislators protect open, transparent debate on Santee Cooper’s future

SC legislators protect open, transparent debate on Santee Cooper’s future

The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce thanks the General Assembly for preserving its ability to continue an open, transparent debate on the future of Santee Cooper next legislative session.

We expressed our concern that as the legislature addressed the state budget and the needs associated with COVID-19, it would succumb to the efforts of a minority of Santee Cooper supporters to essentially take a possible sale of the public utility off the table.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

Section 11 of the enacted Continuing Resolution reads:

Unless otherwise allowed herein, the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) may not take any action which would impair, hinder, or otherwise undermine from an economic, operational, feasibility, or any other perspective the ability of the General Assembly to complete its consideration regarding Santee Cooper’s status.

The legislation establishes a Santee Cooper Oversight Committee.  The members of the Committee are the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Committee is tasked with approving most contractual agreements of over one year that Santee Cooper proposes as well as addressing any violations of this legislation pertaining to the utility as discovered by the Office of Regulatory Staff.

Allowing Santee Cooper the ability to continue normal business operations and management decisions while prohibiting it from entering into long-term contracts that would make a future sale less likely is a win for the utility’s ratepayers and South Carolina taxpayers.