Jefferies station

Celebrating 90 Years of Powering 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.

Learn more about our 90 years of service to the state and how we go beyond the grid.

Improving the Quality of Life for All South Carolinians

Santee Cooper’s mission is to be the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

We work daily to achieve our mission by:

  • Providing low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity and water services.
  • Transforming our energy mix to be leaner and greener.
  • Cultivating innovative partnerships and initiatives that attract and retain industry and jobs.
  • Engaging stakeholders in important industry decisions.
  • Providing excellent customer service.
  • Being good neighbors, including donating our time and talents to help communities thrive.

Our mission has been at the heart of every decision we’ve made since 1934, when Governor Ibra Blackwood signed a bill creating the South Carolina Public Service Authority, more commonly known as Santee Cooper.

The bill granted Santee Cooper permission to create two large reservoirs – Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie – and dam the Santee River to divert the water into the Cooper River. It also called for the construction a hydroelectric plant at Pinopolis.

Ultimately, Santee Cooper was created to electrify rural, depression-era South Carolina and increase navigational opportunities.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt also 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 Hydro Station to support the Allied war effort. Our first customer was defense contractor Pittsburgh Metallurgical Company, which made ferrochromium, a key defense metal used to harden steel for ships and tanks, at its North Charleston plant.

Santee Cooper has evolved throughout the years, but we’ve never wavered in our mission to be the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

For more in-depth information and photos, you can read Powering Generations: History of Santee Cooper 1934-2009 or watch “Pushing Back the Darkness” on  SanteeCooperTV on YouTube.