SC lawmakers strike a compromise on future of Santee Cooper with reform bill

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina House of Representatives and Senate both approved a bill they said would reform Santee Cooper.

This caps off years of debate surrounding the future of the state-owned utility. Santee Cooper had taken on billions of dollars in debt related to the failed nuclear project at VC Summer.

Tuesday, House members and Senators voted unanimously to send H.3194 to the Governor’s desk.

Earlier this year, the House and Senate had approved different versions of the bill. The House’s bill included the creation of a sale committee. The Senate’s version did not.

A panel of House and Senate members hashed out their differences and came up with a compromise a few weeks ago.

The committee removed the process that set up a sale from the legislation.

If it becomes law, Santee Cooper would have to go through the Public Service Commission to change rates, most members of the current board will serve until their terms expire and cannot return, and there will be more input from the General Assembly surrounding any major projects Santee Cooper takes on.

The Senate voted 43-0 to adopt the conference committee’s report.

Senator Luke Rankin (R-District 33) said the bill brings oversight to Santee Cooper. He said, “From stem to stern this package instills transparency and accountability.”

The House voted 111-0 to adopt the committee report.

Speaker of the House Jay Lucas (R-District 65) said he believes it was a mistake to not include the process for a sale in the bill. During a speech to House members from the floor, he said, “We should never let perfect be the enemy of the good. In consideration of all the good this bill does, this is a concession we are willing to make.”

The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature.


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