S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis says state must look out for SCE&G rate-payers
S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis said Thursday the most important issue for the state in the just-begun legislative session is fixing the S.C. Electric and Gas and Santee-Cooper utility companies.
Loftis also said he is afraid that the State is having difficulty grappling with the complexity of a deal that would result in the disposition of SCE&G.
SCE&G and Santee Cooper ceased construction of two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County in 2017, after the utility’s customers had been charged billions to build them. As SCE&G’s fate is being discussed, Loftis said advisors with special expertise should be hired to represent the interests of the state and the SCE&G’s rate-payers. He said the state is being “out-lawyered, outworked and out-thought” and special interests are “picking us clean.”
Loftis suggested that there are two or three firms that could represent the state and put the best interests of the people ahead of lobbyists in managing the debacle with the power companies.
“Decisions involving multi-billions of dollars have to be made,” Loftis said. He also said special interests, in the form of lobbyists, business consultants, money managers and middlemen are wanting to make money for themselves in the deal. Loftis said a firm should be hired to represent the people to get the best deal. “We have got to hire one of these firms,” Loftis said.
In Loftis’ opinion about $2.1 billion has been lost since March when Westinghouse, a company involved with the nuclear reactor construction, filed for bankruptcy. Loftis said there is the potential for billions more to be lost because the State does not fully understand the complexity of the issue.
Loftis, a Republican, gained popular support when he blew the whistle on management issues, and triggered money-saving reforms, at the S.C. Retirement System. He will seek his third term in 2018. He has faced little or no opposition in his previous two runs for office. Loftis is also the Southern Vice President of the National Association of State Treasurers and Immediate Past President of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.