Holding Rates Steady
Santee Cooper will freeze most customer rates from August 2020 through December 2024. Here are answers to common questions about how it will affect residential, commercial and lighting customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
The rate stabilization is part of our 2020 settlement with customers in a class action lawsuit over costs associated with the failed V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project.
The freeze affects all residential, commercial and lighting customer rates listed on Schedule B in the Customer Settlement Agreement. It does not apply to rates or riders not listed on Schedule B.
The included base rates will be frozen to current levels as of August 2020. Additionally, certain normally adjustable charges (such as for fuel used to generate electricity) will be held to levels set forth in the Santee Cooper Reform Plan and specified on Schedule B to the settlement agreements. We project fuel costs for residential, commercial and lighting customers will actually decrease approximately 7% from 2020 through 2024.
Customers are billed for the prior month’s consumption. Residential, commercial and lighting bills mailed beginning Aug. 16, 2020, will reflect these actions.
Santee Cooper will manage increased costs during the rate stabilization period with existing cash reserves and operational savings, as we begin transitioning to a more sustainable and flexible and less expensive generating portfolio that includes more solar and less coal. This transformation was outlined in our 2019 Business Forecast and refined in our Reform Plan.
Rates for Central Electric Power Cooperative, which purchases electricity wholesale from Santee Cooper on behalf of the state’s individual electric cooperatives, will also be consistent with the terms in the Reform Plan.
There are a few categories of expenses which, if incurred during the rate freeze period, may be added to rates after the rate freeze ends. These categories include, for example, expenses related to hurricanes or other named storms, catastrophic failure of equipment beyond Santee Cooper’s control, significant cyber or other security attacks, certain costs related to statutory limitations on Santee Cooper’s ability to hedge fuel, or changes in law, regulatory or governance requirements.
Santee Cooper residential and commercial customers have not had a base rate increase since early 2017.