Letter to the editor: The viability of Santee Cooper is going to cost taxpayers


It's troubling that instead of paying down its $7 billion debt as promised, state-owned utility Santee Cooper is taking out additional loans. Last year, it had to borrow $100 million, and at a recent Santee Cooper board meeting, it was revealed the utility would need to borrow another $100 million this year.

At this rate, Santee Cooper will be mired in debt forever. To pay back all of the existing debt with interest will cost ratepayers $14 billion, most surely through much higher rates over decades. Santee Cooper doesn't seem to have a viable "reform" plan. An independent analysis of the plan by economists at Clemson Economics Associates used Santee Cooper's own financial assumptions and calculated the utility will lose at least $525 million through 2029.

It's my hope our legislators take a much harder look at the viability of Santee Cooper and the cost to ratepayers of even more financial failure.