- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina legislators are investigating a potential buyer of embattled state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

A state Senate subcommittee voted Thursday to request documents about Florida-based NextEra Energy’s lobbying efforts, campaign contributions and details in an ongoing federal criminal investigation into some of the company’s dealings in Florida, The State newspaper reported.

The action pits the senators against some powerful lawmakers who’ve expressed interest in selling the utility, which - though lucrative, generating about $1.9 billion in revenue yearly - has been criticized since a nuclear project in Fairfield County collapsed in 2017, leading Santee Cooper to lose $4 billion.

The business failure has led lawmakers to debate for years whether to sell the utility or let it reform itself.

In an early 2020 bid, the energy giant offered to take up nearly $7 billion in Santee Cooper’s debt and pay the state $500 million in cash.

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