March 29, 2019
The public is invited to share their thoughts at a town hall in Myrtle Beach on Santee Cooper possibly being sold.
The meeting will be held from 5-6 p.m. on April 8 at Chapin Memorial Libary and is being hosted by the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC) and The Horry Independent, according to a news release.
The Horry Independent is a sister paper of The Myrtle Beach Herald.
Those attending the free event will learn about Santee Cooper’s $4 billion debt from its failed nuclear construction project as well as the state-owned utility accruing more than $4 billion in other bond debt.
By 2021, Santee Cooper rates will be 12 percent higher with more hikes to come to start paying off this debt, the release said.
“Santee Cooper’s future is one of the biggest financial issues that our state legislature has ever faced,” said Frank Knapp Jr., the SCSBCC’s president and CEO, said in the release. “The public needs to be informed about the issue. We do not want any of this debt to be passed onto the ratepayers directly or through our electric cooperatives.”
The sale of Santee Cooper will protect ratepayers from the approximately $9 billion in debt as well as address the utility’s coal plants, according to the release.
“These coal plants are both costly to operate and major contributors to carbon pollution which is driving coastal flooding and rising seas,” Knapp said. “The sale of Santee Cooper must include a fast timeline for replacing the coal plants with renewable and less carbon-polluting generation.”
Chapin Memorial Library is located at 400 14th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach.