The bids received by the Legislature varied. Some of the corporations want to take over parts of the public utility. Some offered to sell power to Santee Cooper. Others offered to manage its power plants and the electric lines going to its roughly 179,000 direct customers.
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South Carolina's electric cooperatives want Santee Cooper to study if coal is the cheapest way to provide electricity to customers, questioning whether the state-run utility should cease operating some of its aging coal-fired power plants.
Legislators on Tuesday approved how they'll evaluate potential bids to buy Santee Cooper, giving the highest priority to an offer's impact on electricity rates.
Last week, Santee Cooper's attorneys asked a circuit court judge to move the lawsuit between the state-run utility and the electric cooperatives into arbitration, a procedure that allows legal matters to be worked out more quickly and, often, behind closed doors.