COLOMBIA, CA (AP) – South Carolina Public Utilities seems to have survived a four-year hiatus after the South Carolina House and Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a renovation bill that does not include its sale to a private company.
The future of Santi Cooper has been uncertain since July 2017, when the construction of a pair of nuclear reactors, in which the utility was a minority partner, was stopped before it was completed, leaving the company in debt of billions of dollars.
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster և Several powerful legislators, especially in the House, demanded almost immediately sale: To a private company in Santi Cooper that South Carolina should not be involved in the electricity business.
But there They were powerful allies on the other hand, who remembered how the founding of Santi Cooper as a utility company brought power to large areas of rural South Carolina during the Great Depression. They also noted that the state-owned company is ready to do whatever high-ranking officials ask to bring big industry to the state.
Company officials have asked lawmakers for time to reform and work out a plan to reduce their debt.
The supporters of Santi Cooper won. McMaster said he wanted to read it before deciding to sign it, but his action was largely symbolic, as the 111-0 House vote և 43-0 Senate had no veto power.
“This product is a negotiation process,” said Sen. Luke Rankin, a Republican from Myrtle Beach. “He is one of those who, I think, is trying in good faith to make Santi Cooper what he’s supposed to be, to go through his decision, which we, as a state, have made, to become nuclear.”
The bill really shocks the leadership of Santi Cooper. Over the next four years, it ousted nine of the 10 members of the Utilities Board, all of whom had served before the departure of nuclear reactors by majority partner South Carolina Electric & Gas in 2017. their works.
House Speaker Ayey Lucas, who has worked hard to sell the company, said the provision could be used to get rid of “arrogant, entrenched, isolated leadership.”
The proposal gives state regulators more power over utilities. It allows them to review future utility plans, their electricity forecasts, as well as request public hearings and oversight to ask utility managers to raise interest rates.
Account: extends current legislative oversight of Santi Cooper by the end of this year, when regulators from the Public Service Commission’s Office of Regulatory Staff should be ready to take over.
“This legislation puts an end to the irresponsible autonomy of the irresponsible council, which for a long time was allowed to make bad decisions that were paid for by others,” said Lucas, a Republican from Hartsville. He called the proposal “the most fundamental change in Santi Cooper’s policy since its inception.”
The House wanted to set up a committee of legislators that could always be available to accept the offer to buy St. Cooper, which was rejected by the Senate.
South Carolina spent $ 15 million tries to sell Santee Cooper with a complex offer that involved 10 companies. Florida’s NextEra Energy was voted the best bid, but lawmakers rejected it, calling the offer overwhelming.
South Carolina Electric & Gas was on the verge of bankruptcy after the nuclear failure, but was bought by Virginia Dominion Energy. Two of SCE & G’s executives pleaded guilty to lie about the progress of construction so as not to misunderstand the problems of investors և regulators. Both are awaiting sentencing in federal court.
Fifteen years ago, Santi Cooper survived another push to sell it to a private company by the then government. Mark Sanford
Santi Cooper provides electricity to about 2 million of the state’s population of 5 million through the sale of electricity, either directly or through electricity, which generates about two dozen electric cooperatives – local governments.
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Ff Effrey Collins, Associated Press