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Had “sticker shock” on your latest power bill?


January 18, 2017   By Willard Strong in Energy Matters
If you haven’t already, you’re probably going to have a little “sticker shock” when you get your electric bill.

Last Monday morning, Jan. 9, the outside thermometer at my house read 19 degrees F. For us warm-blooded Southerners, that’s really chilly by our “norms.” Later in the week and by last weekend, we set highs in the upper 70s, so thankfully the cold snap didn’t last very long. This will likely help on your bill’s bottom line, as the warmup continued this week.

Still, with holiday bills rolling in, more money for electricity was not likely part of your New Year’s expectation. I’ve said it for many years: People are used to paying a certain amount within a certain range for power, and if it deviates from that, all of us, even those of who work in the industry, feel a little righteous indignation from that norm.

It’s a pretty natural human reaction to feel that... Continue Reading >>

Happy New Year! Let’s make some resolutions!


January 04, 2017   By Jessica Yourko in Energy Matters

Changing your heat pump’s air filter before it gets too clogged keeps your unit working efficiently and just as importantly, keeps more of your energy dollars in your pocket. Follow product instructions on when to install a new one.

In the past, I was one of those people who resolved to live off nuts and berries and work out in the gym 23 hours a day. I had plans to make a million dollars in 12 months, all while being less stressed and creating an abundance of free time. Unfortunately, none of those things ever came to pass.

In all honesty, I was just lucky to keep the kids alive.

According to Forbes online, only about 8 percent of the entire “resolutions making population” achieve what they set out to do. I know. I get it. Resolutions are hard to keep. But they don’t have to be.

Instead of creating a list of resolutions that will end up in the recycle bin, I am choosing to focus on a word: home. We recently moved and there are so many projects around our home that I need to tackle to make it more energy efficient. Here are just a few:

Replacing the caulking around the windows to keep more of the heat in and less of the cold out.... Continue Reading >>

Mitigation is getting more complicated


August 10, 2016   By Jay Hudson in

This snowy egret, perched on a railing at Santee Cooper’s Jefferies Hydroelectric Station, co-exists with human activities at the facility, which includes boating and angling activities. The challenge Santee Cooper and other electric utilities  face is meeting increasingly stringent environmental and regulatory requirements, juxtaposed with the responsibility of providing reliable and affordable electric power to customers.     

Over the years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed an excellent program to protect our wetland habitats. Wetlands are important features within our landscape that provide numerous beneficial functions to fish and wildlife – and people.

Some of these functions include protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing floodwaters, and maintaining surface-water flow during dry periods.  

The Corps protects wetlands through a well-developed mitigation program. If a potential project will impact wetlands, the Corps will require the project developer to provide mitigation for the impacted wetlands. Simplified, the Corps has a “no-net loss” policy in that additional wetlands must be enhanced or even created to “mitigate” the wetlands that are impacted. It’s a system that has a structure in place and has worked for years.

Recently, the U.S. Fish and... Continue Reading >>

Electric Utilities are the Answer to any Energy Problem


May 17, 2016   By Elizabeth Kress in Energy Matters

Public power has served America with reliable, affordable electricity for more than a century and is blazing a new path with renewable, cleaner energy in the future.

Too often today, it seems much of the public sees electric utilities as “the problem.”  The problem could be any of several.

Take your pick: rates too high, global warming, too much carbon dioxide emissions, not enough renewables, etc.  This blog will argue that the electric utilities are, in fact, the future answer and solution to these problems.

Electric utilities will be there to supply the energy that meets the future needs of our country.  When the public decides that it wants more renewable or carbon-free power, electric utilities will be there to find the best mix of renewables or carbon-free generation to fill that need. If the homeowner decides to supply some of his own power needs with solar panels, the electric utility will be there as backup to make sure the lights stay on, even if it rains for a fortnight.

Utilities understand generation choices and costs, and how to operate an electric grid so that... Continue Reading >>

Santee Cooper continues to reduce carbon emissions


March 23, 2016   By Jay Hudson in Energy Matters
On Feb. 9, a divided U.S. Supreme Court took extraordinary action to indefinitely stay the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan (CPP). This happened after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a request to stay the rule. A 29-state coalition appealed to the Supreme Court, and in an unprecedented move the justices voted 5-4 to order the Obama administration to hold off on implementing the CPP until its legal challenges play out in court.

The regulation, which targets a nationwide reduction in carbon emissions from the power sector, will be on hold until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reviews the plan and any subsequent Supreme Court appeals are over. A hearing at the D.C. Circuit is set for June 2.

Some experts believe that EPA's comments on the Mercury Air Toxics Rule , which was remanded last summer by the Supreme Court for the agency's lack of consideration of compliance costs, may have... Continue Reading >>