State officials are once again questioning Santee Cooper after the state-owned agency failed to provide honest and transparent information during a monthly financial review.
In a letter addressed to state lawmakers, the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff (SCORS) stated that Santee Cooper admitted to omitting “materials in its possession” during a monthly financial review. And, while Santee Cooper executives claim these materials were “inadvertently omitted”, SCORS is no longer standing by their previous statement that Santee Cooper is complying with lawmakers’ orders.
With only a little over a month left until the 2021 South Carolina legislative session kicks off, Santee Cooper’s latest antics are drawing criticism from multiple lawmakers and state agencies.
Nanette Edwards, SCORS executive director, pointed out that her agency’s assessment of Santee Cooper’s adherence to lawmakers’ instructions and the state law was dependent upon the utility providing full and accurate information. The previously mentioned letter, however, claimed that Santee Cooper is not being transparent with this information.
The letter from SCORS comes just weeks after Santee Cooper drew criticism from both South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman.
Speaker Lucas called out Santee Cooper for its “failed culture” and expressed his concerns over their recent actions including the utility’s decision to sign off on bonds without lawmakers’ approval, possibly violating state law. Even further, Senator Leatherman called for the resignation of Santee Cooper’s board chairman, Dan Ray.
This isn’t the first time Santee Cooper has disregarded lawmakers, in fact, it’s become routine for the state-owned agency.
Mounting criticism, repeated obvious neglect of lawmakers directives, and increasing debt will be at the top of lawmakers’ minds when making a decision about Santee Cooper’s future. South Carolina House Representative Murrell Smith said the House needs to deal with Santee Cooper and make a decision.
Meanwhile, SCANA, now known as Dominion, who was Santee Cooper’s partner in the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project – that cost Santee Cooper billions of dollars of debt, just recently reached an agreement to pay a $25 million civil fine. Former SCANA CEO, Kevin Marsh, just entered into a federal plea deal on charges of fraud and conspiracy related to the nuclear project.