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Millions of South Carolinians will be shelling out more money for electric bills

Santee Cooper

The ramifications of a failed nuclear project in South Carolina are just starting to come to light. Last summer, South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper announced they would not be continuing on with the multi-billion dollar project.

Soon customers will be helping, financially, to get things back on track.

Related: Regulators order SCE&G to start cutting rates

Santee Cooper will be raising rates to help pay off the debt accumulated during the nuclear project.

A statement from the Interim President and Chief Executive Officer for Santee Cooper, James E. Brogon, Jr. reads in part:

We are working to reduce customer impact and have already cut an average $40 million from our 2018, 2019 and 2020 budgets by cutting almost 11 percent from capital and non-fuel O&M. We are using the nearly $900 million settlement from Toshiba, then-parent of Westinghouse, to strategically pay debt service and reduce long-term debt, avoiding a projected $1.3 billion in debt costs to customers. Equipment sales would offer additional revenue to offset this debt, and we will pursue potential buyers of the high-value equipment we are preserving on site.

This is how much it will cost on your bill as the years go forward:

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Since 2009, customers have been paying more to help pay for the project--an average of $5.35 monthly.

“We cancelled rate increases this year, we won’t have another rate increase until at least 2020. At that point they will see about 7 percent but that seven percent is going to be broken up over a period of time," Tracy Vreeland, Public Relations Specialist for Santee Cooper, said.

Santee Cooper provides electric to about 2 million people in South Carolina.

Related: 'The problem is bad:' Lawmaker warns of upcoming spike in electricity bills

The news of higher bills is frustrating many customers.

“That’s a lot of money, especially for you know people who might just barely be making it month to month, day to day, to have to try to come up with extra money just to keep their lights on. Just to pay their electric bills. That’s not right," Brenda Deese- Morieko, Santee Cooper Customer, said.

Until 2056, Santee Cooper estimates residential customers will end up paying about $6,200, to help offset the company's debt.

“It always comes back to the customer unfortunately, but it’s a failed mistake and kind of wondering why we have to pay for it," Myrtle Beach resident Joe Hope said.

For more information on the failed nuclear project, including a time line of rate increases, click here.

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