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Celebrating 90 Years of Serving South Carolina

Ninety years ago, South Carolina Governor Ibra Blackwood inked his signature on the bill passed by the Legislature that established the South Carolina Public Service Authority, known today as Santee Cooper, to bring electricity to rural South Carolina.

That's quite a milestone.

Today, Santee Cooper serves more than 2 million people, is one of the nation’s largest public power utilities, and is the only large electric utility headquartered in South Carolina. As we look back on our strong legacy, we're also strategically planning for the future.

Santee Cooper Public Service Authority

A Strong Legacy

In 1934, the South Carolina Legislature created Santee Cooper “for the benefit of all the people of South Carolina and for the improvements of their health, welfare and material prosperity.” Once Santee Cooper was established, work began to construct two reservoirs (Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie) and a hydroelectric plant to serve rural South Carolina, which in turn sparked prosperity in the Depression-ravaged state.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt supported the Santee-Cooper Project, and it became the largest New Deal program in the Palmetto State. All funds for the $31 million project (five times the state’s 1934 budget) came from federal loans and grants. In 1941, construction on the project accelerated when President Roosevelt named Santee Cooper’s Pinopolis Power Plant (now Jefferies Hydroelectric Station) a national defense project when America joined World War II.

On Feb. 17, 1942, Santee Cooper first generated electricity at Jefferies Hydroelectric Station to support the Allied war effort. The hydro station continues to produce renewable energy today.

Solar Panels

Planning for Growing Demand

Santee Cooper is planning for a growing customer base as we transition to a modern energy portfolio that balances new renewables with affordability and reliability.
Our plan for the next decade includes:
  • Adding more than 2,100 MW of new solar power.
  • Adding 1,020 MW of natural gas generation to help provide reliability and help integrate the additional solar power.
  • Retiring over 1,100 MW of coal generation.
  • Adding battery storage and other resources to increase flexibility.
  • Reducing our CO2 emissions rate by over 50% from 2005 levels.

Santee Cooper community outreach

So Much More Than Electricity

While Santee Cooper has evolved, our team has never wavered in our mission to be the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

We go beyond the grid by helping bring quality jobs to the state, providing clean drinking water to communities, and donating thousands of hours to volunteer organizations. Now, we’re working on our next 90 years, strategically planning and investing in future energy needs across the state and other services that power a better South Carolina.

We support:

Recreation and Tourism: Built to provide hydropower, Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion offer 450 miles of shoreline, 44 marinas, 21 public boat landings, 56 commercial business locations, six public parks and recreation areas, and other operations that support more than $434 million in annual tourism.

Drinking Water: The Santee Cooper Regional Water System and the Lake Marion Regional Water System, owned and operated by Santee Cooper, provide clean drinking water to more than 200,000 people and support economic development.

Santee Cooper annually contributes more than $330,000 to schools where we have major business operations. We support classrooms, career days, in-school programming, teacher education, online resources, tours, and onsite nature and history programs.

Forest Management: We are committed to sustainable timber harvesting, protection of soil and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, public recreation and forest protection.

Wetlands Preservation and Restoration: We returned 380 acres to wetlands at former Grainger Generating Station site in Horry County and are protecting 2,650 acres in Camp Hall Commerce Park (including 1,256 acres of freshwater wetlands and planting 465 acres of restored wetlands) in Berkeley County.

Beneficial Reuse: We strategically beneficially reuse excavated ash and gypsum for wallboard, concrete and agricultural purposes.

Old Santee Canal Park: This public park, operated by Santee Cooper, is dedicated to conservation, including prothonotary warbler tracking, and South Carolina history.

  • Since 1988, Santee Cooper has helped bring more than $25 billion in capital investment and 94,000 new jobs to our state.
  • In 2023, Santee Cooper helped attract more than $3 billion in capital investment and more than 5,000 announced jobs.
  • Our Camp Hall Commerce Park in Berkeley County is named 5th best industrial park in the nation – and the only one to make the list in the Southeast – by Business Facilities Magazine.
  • Our rates, loans and grants have supported industrial location and expansion across South Carolina.

Our team members are very involved in their local communities throughout the state and volunteered more than 25,000 hours for nearly 6,000 organizations in 2023 alone.

South Carolina collage

Recent Community Recognitions

  • Finalist for Catalyst for Community Service by Destination North Myrtle Beach in 2024.
  • Outstanding Corporate Partner by Trident United Way in 2023.
  • Champion of Public Schools by South Carolina School Boards Association in 2023.
  • South Carolina Economic Development Impact Award Winner by Coastal Carolina University Grant Center for Real Estate and Economics in 2023.
  • Lower Region Award Winner from Keep South Carolina Beautiful in 2023.
  • Ranked among America’s Best Midsized Employers by Forbes in 2022.

Santee Cooper rep providing award-winning service

Award-Winning Service

We're proud of our team and the work they do every day to safely keep the power flowing to our customers.
Santee Cooper's recent power system distinctions include:
  • Reliability: 10th nationally for residential reliability (out of nearly 500 utilities, ranked by US EIA).
  • Customer Satisfaction: 96.1% residential, 98.7% commercial.
  • Safety: 1st Place Award, American Public Power Association (APPA).
  • Operational Efficiency: Earned the RP3 award for operational efficiency from APPA every year it’s been offered.