By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2021 Issue
Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, and the state’s largest power provider. The utility has been a strong force in the growth and development of the state. Its mission is to be the leading resource for improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians.
As part of its mission, Santee Cooper has become South Carolina’s proven business partner, powering state industry by helping create a prosperous environment for businesses to build, relocate and expand. When you add in South Carolina’s favorable business climate, it’s no wonder companies like Google and Volvo Cars USA have moved to the area.
In 2020 alone, Santee Cooper provided site development loans, grants and other support to state and local governments, electric cooperatives and other organizations across the state to help attract more than 1,300 jobs and $609 million in economic development investment. Santee Cooper is also developing a broadband program to support providers in achieving a statewide rollout to unserved areas.
Santee Cooper is a public-power provider directly and indirectly for more than 2 million people in all 46 counties of South Carolina. It serves more than 194,000 residential and commercial customers directly in Horry, Georgetown and Berkeley counties. It also supplies electricity to the state’s electric cooperatives, the cities of Bamburg and Georgetown, 27 large industrial customers and 10 cities that make up the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency.
Santee Cooper knows that reliability and low rates are critical. The utility is in the top 1 percent nationally in reliability, earning the No. 4 spot out of 550 investor-owned utilities and electric cooperatives according to the latest EIA data. Based on 2019 data, Santee Cooper’s industrial rates average 17 percent lower than the state average and 25 percent lower than the national average. Its average residential rate is 9 percent lower than the state average and 9 percent lower than the national average. Among commercial customers, its average commercial rate is 8 percent lower than the state average and 8 percent lower than the national average.
Retail customer satisfaction with Santee Cooper is also above national satisfaction rates, according to results from an independent survey by MarketSearch. Some 96 percent of residential customers are satisfied with the utility service, compared to 93 percent nationally. Satisfaction was 100 percent among Santee Cooper industrial customers.
Santee Cooper’s new leaner, greener resource plan includes more sustainable resources like solar, less reliance on coal-fired generation and more flexibility. This ensures a strong generation mix that’s low in capital expenses and that will reduce carbon emissions 55 percent by the 2030s.
Santee Cooper is a leading organization for utility safety with a strong, trusted, safe work environment that is highly respected and sought after.
In 2020, Santee Cooper tied its best safety year yet and regularly earns top awards in the American Public Power Association’s Safety Award of Excellence program.
Santee Cooper is developing Camp Hall, a next generation commerce park near Charleston. The 6,781-acre property offers infrastructure and site-ready facilities so businesses can quickly be up and running in a prime location in the southeast.
Camp Hall sits in a sought-after hub for industrial expansion, with an available workforce of over 500,000 people—and Camp Hall’s unique people-focused approach keeps that workforce at the center of every design detail.
Currently under construction, Camp Hall’s Village Center will help workers balance jobs with the necessities of life. Small businesses and amenities such as convenience stores, healthcare, dry cleaning, sports fields and nature trails are, or will soon be, available to connect people, nature and productivity.
Santee Cooper is passionate about providing tools and other resources that empower customers to make the best energy decisions for their homes, businesses and lifestyles.
EmpowerSC, Santee Cooper’s newest group of programs, is helping customers make their own energy-conscious decisions to conserve power, save money, contribute to environmental health and set up the community for a brighter future.
The utility also offers rebates and incentives for installing qualified equipment. And, to maximize energy efficiency and encourage positive habits, Santee Cooper offers information on home, business, auto and solar resources that will make an impact on a household’s or business’ bottom line.
As a steward of the state’s well-being, Santee Cooper plays a large role in contributing to the community. Throughout the year, Santee Cooper hosts American Red Cross blood drives, United Way volunteer events, support for area schools, and even produces the annual Celebrate The Season Holiday Lights Driving Tour and Fairs that raised more than $1 million for local charities.
Santee Cooper does much more than keep the lights on—although that will remain its core responsibility. By also improving the economic climate, committing to environmental sustainability, contributing to local communities and providing resources for students, educators and energy users, the state-owned utility is providing essential services while maintaining a customer-first focus.
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