Featured Image Source: Janet Morgan / MyHorryNews.com
Earlier this week local Myrtle Beach residents gathered for a town hall meeting to discuss the pros and cons of selling Santee Cooper. Held at the Chapin Memorial Library in Myrtle Beach there seemed to be an even mixture of opinions on the issue.
One attendee, South Carolina senior citizen Julia Brinkley is a retired Santee Cooper customer on a fixed income and is worried what rate increases could mean for her. As with many residents on a fixed income, Brinkley is already taking measures to monitor her power usage and fears that she won’t be able to afford power if rates increase even more.
Other attendees, such as Tracy Vreeland, Santee Cooper’s Public Relations Specialist, were there to remind residents that Santee Cooper’s rates were among the lowest in the state. And, while they may not remain the lowest, with more rate hikes to come due to Santee Cooper’s debt, she assured residents they would remain competitive.
On the other hand, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Frank Knapp Jr., led the discussion on the importance of selling Santee Cooper.
Knapp’s concerns started years ago when Santee Cooper and SCE&G teamed up to begin the V.C. Summer Nuclear Project, a partnership which Santee Cooper agreed to take on 45% of the debt for. As the project went on and the debt continued to grow, customers saw a 15% rate increase in 2015, followed by full abandonment of the project in 2017 by both utility companies.
Knapp went on to say without the sale of Santee Cooper, there is nothing to stop Santee Cooper’s rates to increase even more to pay off their more than $7 billion of debt.
Read the full story here.