Santee Cooper is wading back into the deep end of the bond market.

For investors

The proposed Santee Cooper debt issue has been rated AA- by S&P, A1 by Moody's and A+ by Fitch. A detailed prospectus is at

Individuals interested in investing in the bonds should call 877-246-3338.

The state-owned utility's board will meet by telephone Friday and most likely will approve the sale of $300 million to $500 million in long-term debt.

The interest rates have not been determined yet. The bonds will be repaid with revenue from Santee Cooper's customers.

The proceeds are to be used to refinance some existing debt and to help pay for expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, Santee Cooper said.

The bonds will mature in 30 to 40 years. The interest payments are exempt from federal and South Carolina income taxes for Palmetto State residents.

The sale marks the third big bond transaction in less than a year for Moncks Corner-based Santee Cooper. The power and water provider floated about $1.3 billion in IOUs in August, the most debt ever sold by a state agency in South Carolina at one time. It followed that up with a $507 million bond sale about a month later.

The utility is going into debt in part to finance its portion of the $10 billion nuclear plant expansion in Fairfield County, north of Columbia.

South Carolina Electric & Gas is footing the rest of the bill while taking more ownership. SCE&G parent SCANA Corp. struck a deal in January to buy some of Santee Cooper's stake for $500 million.

SCANA's ownership of the two new reactors being added at V.C. Summer will climb to 60 percent from 55 percent. Santee Cooper's stake will drop to 40 percent. The deal isn't expected to be finalized until about 2021.

Santee Cooper began to look at cutting its V.C. Summer ownership about four years ago, after its biggest customer announced it would shift some of its power purchases to Duke Energy.

SCANA has said it plans to use the extra nuclear power it's acquiring to replace coal-powered electricity. Also, the deal will delay the need to invest in natural gas-fired generators, the Cayce-based company has said.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.