Duke Energy, Southern Co. and Dominion Energy are three of the four electric utilities that want to buy state-owned Santee Cooper, The Post and Courier learned Monday. The identity of the fourth utility remains unknown.
Utilities had until Sunday to submit their interest in purchasing Santee Cooper to the governor’s office, winnowing the field of buyers for one of the state’s most valuable assets. Still, hurdles remain: Formal bids will come later and selling the Moncks Corner-based power provider would require legislative approval.
Dominion and Southern declined to comment on the negotiations, while Duke didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The governor’s office, likewise, declined to give details on the negotiations, which McMaster says he’s pursuing in an effort to either finish the reactors or pay off the debt Santee Cooper racked up building them. Santee Cooper has about $8 billion in debt, more than half of which is tied to the project.
“The governor is continuing to work with companies interested in purchasing some or all of Santee Cooper, and he remains solely focused on what is best for ratepayers and South Carolina taxpayers,” spokesman Brian Symmes said in a statement. “To preserve the integrity of the process, any details of ongoing conversations will remain confidential at this time.”
While the governor’s office is focused on selling all of Santee Cooper, the utility has worked for almost two months to find a buyer for its 45 percent interest in the two unfinished nuclear reactors.