MCEC President/CEO Explains Santee Cooper Plant Failure

May 14, 2019 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

MCEC President/CEO Explains Santee Cooper Plant Failure

Bob Paulling, President and CEO of Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative (MCEC). described himself as a man of faith and football. Born and raised in Clemson, he grew up under strong male Christian leadership that helped him become the man he is today. At yesterday's breakfast meeting, he explained how the effects on MCEC and the surrounding community after the Santee Cooper nuclear plant failure.

Paulling shared his “windshield mentality”; focusing on what is ahead and where we are going, and looking at the rear-view mirror to see where we have come from. After the Rural Education Act was formed in the 1930s, there was a need to start providing rural communities through partnerships not focusing on profit. In the 1940s, MCEC began serving these customers and has since become the largest customer for Santee Cooper and Duke Energy.

MCEC is a not-for-profit electric distribution utility headquartered in Lexington. They are owned by approximately 47,000 member-owners who reside in Lexington, Richland, Newberry, Saluda and Aiken counties. MCEC is the fifth largest of the twenty electric cooperatives in the state. Together, these cooperatives serve more than 1.4 million members in over 75 percent of the state.

With the current issue concerning the nuclear plant failure and the Coordinated Agreement with Santee Cooper that runs out in 2030, MCEC has started to renegotiate the contract, which is non-assignable and MCEC can opt out. However with Santee Cooper being a state agency, Santee Cooper cannot make any decisions until legislature decides how they will move forward with the company. Suggestions are to sell all including the lakes, create a management agreement with a large utility company or for Santee Cooper to submit a restructure agreement including a 5 year guarantee for employees.

Thankfully, Paulling shared that MCEC is able to speak into these contracts allowing them to protect their members. The rates will not skyrocket through this process and Santee Cooper’s debt will not be a burden to their members or the taxpayers.

This breakfast was sponsored by Burr Forman McNair

Join fellow Chamber members at the next breakfast on Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 a.m. at RADIUS Church where Kellar Kissam will give the keynote address!