South Carolina’s debt-laden, atrociously managed government-run utility Santee Cooper has seen nearly all of the assumptions associated with its so-called “reform” plan go up in smoke over the last year. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost …
At this month’s Santee Cooper board of directors meeting – the first of 2021 – utility leaders acknowledged they will need $100 million in “new money proceeds” by the fourth quarter of the year.
Translation? New debt …
And no, this additional infusion of borrowed cash was not part of the utility’s “reform” plan. Oh, and even more money may ultimately be required.
“We will continue to evaluate as the year progresses,” a notation in the utility’s 2021 “debt management” presentation noted.
“They are beyond struggling from a cash standpoint,” one industry observer noted. “Broke as a joke.”
Unfortunately, that joke will continue to be on Palmetto State taxpayers and Santee Cooper ratepayers until lawmakers decide to rid themselves once and for all of this toxic asset – something our news outlet has been advocating they do for the past thirteen years.
How bad has Santee Cooper’s cash position become? Readers will recall the utility already took on an additional $100 million in red ink last fall – even though they were prohibited from doing so by lawmakers (and per the conditions of a recent court settlement).
That decision prompted legislative and regulatory outrage – and pushed many state lawmakers to support a plan to offload the utility to the private sector.
Santee Cooper’s response? Getting its bought-and-paid-for lawmakers (led by S.C. Senate judiciary chairman Luke Rankin) to introduce a sham “reform” bill – and to embark on a transparently hypocritical campaign to undermine the potential sale of the utility.
Why is Santee Cooper in such dire, desperate straits?
NukeGate, that’s why …
(Click to view)
(Via: High Flyer SC)
For those of you waking up from a three-and-a-half year nap, Santee Cooper and its crony capitalist partner SCANA were supposed to have produced a pair of next-generation pressurized water reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear power generating station near Jenkinsville, S.C. in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Despite a massive cash outlay, this project was abandoned in July 2017 with the reactors less than half-completed – leaving ratepayers holding the bag to the tune of $10 billion.
Santee Cooper tried to raise rates on its customers just one week before pulling the plug on the project … only to have it disclosed months later that its executives knew the reactors were doomed years beforehand.
In addition to lying to the public, Santee Cooper also misled its investors regarding the status of the reactors – the collapse of which caused the state-owned utility’s debt to soar to nearly $7.5 billion.
And as we noted earlier this year, this debacle has become an ongoing fleecing – which we believe is all the more reason Santee Cooper should be offloaded. Well, along with the fact the utility is ripping off citizens, bilking taxpayers and killings jobs as it continues to wage a war of misinformation within the S.C. General Assembly.
A government-funded war of misinformation, at that …
Stay tuned … in addition to our coverage of Santee Cooper’s latest red ink admission, this news outlet has been apprised by several state senators of alleged threats made by Rankin in connection with the ongoing debate over the utility’s disposition.
We look forward to filing a report on those developments soon …
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(VIA: GETTY IMAGES)