Bids nixed, SC Senate, House differ on state utility future

South Carolina News

From left to right, Santee Cooper lawyer Mike Baxley, CEO Mark Bonsall and deputy CEO Charlie Duckworth listen as the House Ways and Means Committee votes to reject their plan to reform the state owned utility, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Columbia, South Carolina. The committee also rejected private utility bids to buy or manage Santee Cooper (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers have rejected all bids to buy or manage state-owned utility Santee Cooper and the House and Senate appear to disagree on what to do next.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill Thursday with some ideas to reform Santee Cooper, but also to create a committee of three House members and three senators with expert help to continue to negotiate with NextEra Energy of Florida to sell the utility.

FILE – This April 9, 2012 file photo shows construction well underway for new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, S.C. South Carolina could pay off billions in debt and end uncertainty over lawsuits if it sells its state-owned utility, Santee Cooper, but the move would cost ratepayers more money over the next 20 years, state fiscal officials say in a report released Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins, File)

An hour later, the Senate Finance Commission rejected the initial bids but created a subcommittee to come up with robust reforms to Santee Cooper.

It was not told to reopen negotiations with NextEra.

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