Setting The Record Straight
Facts ARE Facts
Santee Cooper customers need facts to consider as the future of this essential electric and water provider is discussed. Unfortunately, other organizations are making erroneous statements in an effort to promote a single agenda: Sell Santee Cooper no matter the consequences to customers or taxpayers.
Consider the new op-ed by the Palmetto Promise Institute’s Oran Smith with these five claims, all of which are FALSE, followed by the real facts:
- Santee Cooper is spending $19 million annually to preserve equipment at the V.C. Summer nuclear project site.
FACT: Santee Cooper spent $4.2 million last year and has spent $2.8 million so far this year to preserve equipment at V.C. Summer. We must maintain the equipment to sell it, and we will recover that money when we sell it. The equipment is worth much more than the cost to preserve it.
- Santee Cooper is spending “nearly” $19 million annually to preserve equipment from a canceled Pee Dee coal plant.
FACT: Santee Cooper is spending less than $2.5 million a year to preserve the Pee Dee equipment.
- Santee Cooper customers are “forced to play banker (on) no-interest loans issued across the state.”
FACT: Santee Cooper issues low-interest loans to local governments, economic development corporations and electric cooperatives to help attract industry and jobs. The loans are repaid — with interest. There have been no defaults. We are a strong, vital economic development partner and have helped land more than $15 billion in capital investment and 80,335 jobs across South Carolina since 1988, including companies such as Volvo, Google, Nucor and many others.
- Santee Cooper is spending money foolishly rather than trying to save money to pay down debt.
FACT: Santee Cooper has cut our budgets and taken many other steps to avoid the need for a rate increase in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and we are working to extend that record. We will unveil a new business plan in September with more details.
- The only option that pays off our debt and prevents “the certainty of higher rates” is for the legislature to sell Santee Cooper.
FACT: The S.C. Department of Administration has hired four consulting firms with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, the energy market and legal issues related to public versus investor-owned power. These firms will conduct comprehensive evaluations of anticipated proposals to reform Santee Cooper (our bid), buy Santee Cooper or take over its management. The Department of Administration has approached this complex task very professionally, and should be given the courtesy to complete its task before others reach conclusions.
We recognize there is legitimate frustration over the V.C. Summer project, but this frustration should not overshadow the work being done by Santee Cooper to improve its own management, nor get in front of the work being done by the Department of Administration to recommend valid and vetted alternatives to the General Assembly. And that’s a fact.