McCoy Quickly Becomes New Chairman of Santee Cooper’s Board of Directors



Former South Carolina Representative and former U.S. State Attorney Peter McCoy was sworn in to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on his appointment as chair of the board of directors of state-owned Santee Cooper, Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Colombia, SC Gov. Henry McMaster has appointed McCoy for the position. (AP Photo / Jeffrey Collins)


The Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to make former U.S. lawmaker and attorney Peter McCoy the new chairman of state-owned Santee Cooper.

Senators wasted no time in giving McCoy his new post, with the Judiciary Committee and the entire Senate voting in the special session on Tuesday. The General Assembly may not meet again for a few months.

Governor Henry McMaster appointed McCo y in April to head the board of oversight of the utility, which provides electricity to more than 2 million of South Carolina’s 5 million people.

McCoy is well known at the Statehouse. He spent 10 years as a Republican in the South Carolina House, becoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He headed a special committee that investigated the abandoned VC Summer nuclear reactors north of Columbia. Then during his year as an American lawyer, he oversaw the lawsuits against two executives of SCANA, who owned the majority of the closed reactors.

“It has already been considered by the United States Senate and others. I think it’s an easy bet, ”said Senator Gerald Malloy, a Democrat from Hartsville.

McCoy takes Santee Cooper back to perhaps his most stable place in the past four years, since stopping construction of two nuclear reactors in which the utility was a 45% partner and spent billions of dollars without return.

“In my opinion, we’ve come a long way,” McCoy told senators on Tuesday.

Some lawmakers pushed to sell Santee Cooper to a private company, but a deal never won the General Assembly majority. Instead, lawmakers passed a public service overhaul bill that McCoy will help incorporate.

McCoy will ultimately be one of nine new members of the 10-person Santee Cooper Board of Directors. The law passed earlier this year kicks off all board members ahead of the nuclear reactor abandonment in 2017.

It also gives state regulators more power over the utility, ranging from asking them to review the utility’s future plans to generate electricity and their electricity consumption forecasts to the requirement to public hearings and a watchdog to question public service executives on tariff increases. It also requires outside approval for any severance pay for executives.

McCoy has vowed to be independent from both McMaster, who still wants to see Santee Cooper sold to a private company, and lawmakers who have tirelessly supported the state to continue in the electricity business.

Santee Cooper was established during the Great Depression to provide electricity to rural areas, which made up most of the state at the time. This service remains powerful in the minds of some legislators.

McCoy said the first thing he did when the governor appointed him was to print out the section of South Carolina law regarding the duties of the Santee Cooper board member. They ask that person to act in good faith, with the care that a “normally prudent person” would use and to act in the best interests of the public service.

“I took them everywhere with me. I read them religiously, ”McCoy said.

Senator Chip Campsen urged McCoy to stay true to these principles.

“If you have the opportunity to see elected officials trying to persuade you to do something other than fulfill this fiduciary duty, I encourage you to take out this code session and stick it to their faces like a cross in the face of a vampire, ”the Republican said. of the Isle of Palms said.

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