Santee Cooper raising rates

The Santee Cooper Board of Directors authorized a two-year rate hike Tuesday.

The increase will be an average of 3.5 percent each year for two years.

The first adjustment will start December 1, 2012. The second is scheduled to start on December 1, 2013.

Santee Cooper says it has to raise rates to meet increased costs associated with new generation, primarily the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion, and to comply with new environmental regulations.

Santee Cooper's base rates have not increased since November 2009.

"In considering this rate adjustment, the board reviewed an independent rate analysis, management's proposal, and the comments and input we received from the public," said Santee Cooper Chairman O.L. Thompson in a press release. "I know that times remain tough for many of our customers. The fact is, Santee Cooper has already cut or deferred $1.8 billion in capital expenses and approved other cost-saving measures the past two years. We are now at a point where we must increase revenues to ensure we can fulfill our statutory requirements to recover our costs, meet new environmental regulations and build generation that is important to South Carolina's future."

The rate adjustment affects residential, commercial, industrial, municipal and lighting customers. More specific information can be found at