Update June 22, 2012: The first of the input meetings was held last night and, as predicted, there was resistance to the rate hike.
WBTW quotes an attendee who talks about seniors on fixed income and how she needs the money as much or more than Santee Cooper. The meeting leaders, however, rebutted that they wouldn't ask for more if it wasn't necessary. You can read the full report and see video here. And interest fact given is that the average household will see an approximate $5 jump in their bill for the first rate increase, and another $7 to $8 rise for the second.
There is another community meeting planned for tonight in Litchfield, and another two scheduled for next Tuesday in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. See below for locations and times.
First report: This past Monday, May 21, Santee Cooper's Board of Directors met and agreed "to open a public comment period" on a proposed rate hike.
Santee Cooper is planning on raising rates 3.5% starting December 1 and plan on raising the rates another 3.5% the following year (that's nearly 10% over two years). Santee Cooper says they haven't raised their rates since 2009.
Via Santee Cooper:
The Santee Cooper Board of Directors has authorized a public comment period for a proposed rate adjustment recommended by the utility’s management. The proposal would increase rates for customers an average 3.5 percent each year for two years.
As proposed, the first adjustment would take effect Dec. 1, 2012, and the second, on Dec. 1, 2013. The adjustments are needed to help Santee Cooper meet increased costs associated with new generation, primarily the ongoing V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion, and to comply with new environmental regulations.
Santee Cooper’s base rates have not increased since November 2009. By comparison, prices in that time period have increased 48 percent for a gallon of gas, 20 percent for a pound of ground chuck, and 15 percent for a gallon of milk, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Santee Cooper continues to emphasize cost cutting and has reduced or deferred $1.8 billion in capital spending since 2010, cut non-fuel operations about $25 million in 2011 and 2012, and saved customers nearly $50 million over the life of bonds refinanced in 2010 and 2011.
Read the rest here.
There will be public meetings held all around the Grand Strand regarding the changes:
- June 21, 6:30 p.m.
Santee Cooper Conway Office
100 Elm St., Conway, SC 29526
- June 22, 2 p.m.
CCU Waccamaw Higher Education Center
160 Willbrook Blvd., Litchfield, SC 29585
- June 26, 2 p.m.
North Myrtle Beach City Hall
1018 Second Ave. South, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
- June 26, 6:30 p.m.
Myrtle Beach Law Enforcement Center
1101 North Oak St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
To voice your concerns online head here.
Santee Cooper provides direct service to more than 163,000 customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties and a number of other large business customers.