The People Must Demand Change at Santee Cooper For Their Own Good

As a person who has dedicated myself to working in communities that are often overlooked or underrepresented, I truly understand the importance of community involvement in political and social issues. Simply, I know that people must take it upon themselves to pay attention to the issues that are currently present and make it their mission to voice their desires regarding them.

In this particular instance, I am talking about Santee Cooper and its rising multibillion dollar debt that someone must pay.

That someone will be the people. If something is not done.

I have been following the Santee Cooper fiasco for quite some time and I have many questions. How did the failed nuclear plant project be allowed to incur $8 billion in debt? Why hasn’t anyone been held responsible for what seems to be a gross mismanagement of resources and public trust? Why hasn’t the utility been sold, since it is clear that the state shouldn’t be in the energy business? Why is South Carolina 1 of only 3 states in the entire country with a state-owned, Cold War era, utility? Why aren’t there any innovation in our energy options? I could go on.

But the truth is, it’s because the public has not made it a point to demand that change happen. We as voters, elect our public officials who then go to Columbia (and Washington) and ideally work on our behalf. We have given them that power. We also have the ability to make changes when we see that the voice of the people is no longer paramount to their personal agendas. This is what I see with Santee Cooper. It appears that a few who have been given power are holding up this process to maintain some sort of personal control or influence within the Santee Cooper infrastructure. How else can it be explained why this utility is incurring over $1 million a day in interest on its debt and still nothing has been done?

The 177,000 customers of Santee Cooper and the nearly 200,000 customers of South Carolina’s Co-Ops are the ones who will ultimately pay for this mismanagement of funds and underhanded dealings of Santee Cooper. These are people who live in some of this state’s most rural communities where increases in monthly bills can have severe effects on monthly budgets. I care about this.   care about them.

That is why I am writing this and encouraging others to do so as well. We must collectively put pressure on those Legislators who are holding up progress in South Carolina and allowing the people to be taken advantage of. I have read many arguments about why Santee Cooper shouldn’t be sold; including protection of current and past employees and protection of the lakes and rivers that have benefited from the utility. These are the items that we, the people, can demand that our Legislators negotiate in any deal to sell Santee Cooper. We can do that because the truth is the Legislators work for us, the People.

Do not allow yourselves to sit back and watch this drama unfold without doing your part. Write your letter. Make your call. Make sure you are up-to-date with current facts.

We have the power to control our future.

Thank you for reading,

Radia Baxter

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