State lawmakers, SC Governor, explore potential sale of Santee Cooper

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - According to a report from a consulting firm, there are more than a dozen bidders for the state-owned power utility, Santee Cooper.

State lawmakers and Governor Henry McMaster (R) met Wednesday afternoon with the consultant ICF to discuss the bids.

The proposals are all confidential. ICF says the 15 bids are to either purchase or manage Santee Cooper.

According to the consulting firm, three of the bids promised to eliminate all of Santee Cooper’s debt. They said rates will stop increasing at the same rate if the utility was not sold.

Lawmakers asked ICF about rate changes, South Carolina’s power transmission system, and taxes.

They said their focus on protecting the ratepayer, the state, and Santee Cooper employees.

“This is the largest financial fiasco in the history of South Carolina," Senator Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley) said. "Between what SCE&G did and what Santee Cooper did and put $9 billion in a hole in the ground that will never produce a kilowatt. Now we have to go and fix it as best as we can.”

Lawmakers said Wednesday’s meeting provided some clarity, but they would need more information before moving forward.

They said they are still undecided whether Santee Cooper should be sold. They are planning on meeting throughout this session.

If the special committee makes a decision to sell the utility, the General Assembly would have to approve it.

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