Failed nuclear project will raise customers’ power bills, Santee Cooper says
Santee Cooper said Wednesday that it expects its electric rates likely will rise 7 percent because of its failed nuclear project.
A conservative think tank warned Tuesday that S.C. residents served by the state-owned utility could see their power bills soar almost 14 percent as Santee Cooper pays off $4 billion in debt from the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. However, Santee Cooper said Wednesday that those projections are overblown.
The Palmetto Promise Institute issued its 49-page report Tuesday amid a debate over Santee Cooper’s future. The group concluded the utility should be sold, both to protect Santee Cooper’s 2 million customers from higher rates and to get the state out of the utility industry.
Selling Santee Cooper has been an idea championed by Gov. Henry McMaster since last August. The Columbia Republican began recruiting out-of-state suitors to buy Santee Cooper just days after it and investor-owned SCE&G abandoned the construction of two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.
The Palmetto Promise Institute’s report suggested Santee Cooper likely would need to raise rates 13.6 percent – or about $16.20 a month for the average residence – to pay down its debt.