Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Governor Henry McMaster is continuing to work on the potential sale of Santee Cooper. He wasn't able to give specifics about companies interested in buying the state-owned utility, but says his office is working to find the best solution.
"We're moving as quickly but as deliberately as we can," says Governor McMaster. "This is something that you need to have all of the facts on the table and be very careful so that you don't make a mistake."
The state-owned utility owns 45 percent of the failed project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant, where two nuclear reactors were being built.
Leaders in both the South Carolina House and Senate have asked Governor McMaster to hold off on the sale. They are asking that an outside agency be allowed to perfom an audit on the state-owned utility. Governor McMaster says his main focus is on the rate payers.
"If we don't sell Santee Cooper, then they're gonna end up holding the bag," says Governor McMaster.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina buys their power from Santee Cooper. That power then goes to their 20 electric cooperatives, in all 46 counties in the state.
"We're not in a good situation," says Michael Couick, CEO of the Electric Co-Ops of SC. "The Co-ops together have $2.7 billion or so invested in Summer units 2 & 3 that unless something happens, we're not going to get back."
Couick says he's working with the governor and lawmakers on options moving forward. He says whoever buys the utility, must understand that the customers come first.
"One out of four co-op members lives in a manufactured home," says Couick. "It's not that those folks are disadvantaged, it's just that the challenges of heating and cooling manufactured housing can be higher. So that we would be concerned about their power bill is foremost there."
he's looking for a reliable and affordable source of power.
"We need a utility integrated in the fabric of South Carolina and believes in South Carolina."