My thanks to the House and Senate members who voted overwhelming to pursue a sale of troubled state-owned utility Santee Cooper to protect ratepayers from big rate hikes needed to pay off its huge debt.

There is no doubt it’s the right thing to do. Maintaining the status quo of this utility whose top management decided to take on billions in debt from a bankrupt nuclear contractor is not an option.

The nonbinding offers received earlier this year showed a strong market for Santee Cooper, with offers that would pay full estimated value, pay off all the debt and ensure lower rates than Santee Cooper.

Beyond requiring debt payoff and low rates, the legislature set additional common-sense criteria for binding bids such as protections for rank and file Santee Cooper workers and their pensions and preservation of the lake system.

With interest on Santee Cooper’s debt accumulating at $1 million per day, it’s important for ratepayers that the sale process move forward as quickly as possible and not leave the employees of Santee Cooper in limbo.

David Hood

Pawleys Island