Update December 14, 2011: Santee Cooper issued a statement that the media is oversimplifying the rate increase.
The budget does include a 4% increase but it has not been approved or voted on. On their Facebook page, Santee Cooper posted the following statement:
We’re getting some oversimplified media coverage of our 2012 budget process that wrongly implies our board has approved a rate increase for 2012.
No rate increase has been considered or voted on. We’ve only raised rates once in the past 15 years, and that was a 3 percent increase in 2009.
The 2012 budget has room for a 3-4 percent rate increase late next year, although there are still several steps to go — including a lengthy public comment period — before the board would vote on that rate adjustment.
Staff is analyzing our revenue requirements now and will present study findings to the board late next spring. If the board decides the analysis shows a need for additional revenue, board members would then begin a public comment period and public meetings, followed by a vote sometime next fall.
The soonest rates would be affected would be December. We’ll be keeping customers and others updated as we go through this process, and please let us know if you have questions or concerns along the way.
First Report: Santee Cooper approved their 2012 budget this week which includes a rate hike of up to 4% each year for the next 3 years.
The rate increase will apply to commercial and residential customers but not wholesale customers like Horry Electric Cooperative. The major reason cited is to cover the costs of investing in new nuclear power plants. This is the first rate increase since 2009. But some businesses and residents are concerned that any increase in the fragile economy could be damaging. The Charleston Post and Courier has more details including how much you can expect to see your bill go up. Read more here.