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Showing posts by author Kevin F. Langston  Show all posts >

A different kind of March Madness

March 16, 2016   By Kevin F. Langston in Safety

Photo by Jim Huff/Santee Cooper

You might've heard about a pretty big tournament happening this week where competitors from all over will be looking to prove themselves on a massive stage before adoring fans and awed onlookers.

It's known as the Santee Cooper Lineworkers' Rodeo (What, not the tournament you were thinking of?), and it takes place this Saturday at Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner. We enthusiastically invite the public to come watch line technicians representing Santee Cooper and seven of South Carolina's electric cooperatives as they compete in a course of events designed to test their skills in a fun and safe environment.

The 19th annual Santee Cooper Lineworkers' Rodeo begins at 8 a.m. with a unique flag-raising ceremony, and admission is free.

It's a generally agreed upon fact that electric lineworkers are the rock stars of our business, and bragging rights will surely be on the line Saturday. But the Santee Cooper Lineworkers' Rodeo builds... Continue Reading >>

Check out the latest issue of PowerSource magazine

February 10, 2016   By Kevin F. Langston in Community

Photo by Jim Huff

One of the biggest decisions a large-scale electric utility like Santee Cooper makes is the construction of generating facilities. And since May 2008, workers at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County have been building two additional nuclear power units. SCANA and Santee Cooper are partners on the project , of which the centerpieces are two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors rated at 1,117 megawatts apiece. Santee Cooper is contracted for 40 percent of that capacity when the units come online in 2019 and 2020.

You can read more about this massive undertaking in our latest issue of PowerSource magazine . There, you'll also find a timeline of significant milestones in the years-long process of permitting and building two of the first new nuclear units in the United States in over 30 years.

The Winter 2016 PowerSource also features a story about Santee Cooper's response to the historical rains that fell throughout South Carolina in early October.... Continue Reading >>

Why we spill when we spill

January 06, 2016   By Kevin F. Langston in Santee Cooper Lakes

An aerial photo of the Santee Spillway taken during October's spilling operations

While many of us were opening presents on Christmas morning, Santee Cooper was opening floodgates at the Santee Spillway on Lake Marion. It was the third time in as many months that we'd be releasing water into the Santee River.

The Santee Cooper Lakes are part of a 15,000 square-mile watershed that stretches into North Carolina — the second largest watershed east of the Mississippi River. Our lakes are at the end of this line, so when we're under drought conditions it's unlikely we'll get very much water from the reservoirs above us. On the other hand, when it floods, that water is coming our way.

Prolonged rainfall throughout this watershed, combined with spilling operations from upstream reservoirs, brought the latest extreme inflows to lakes Marion and Moultrie. We began this current spill on Dec. 25 at a rate of 20,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) and brought it to a peak of 97,000 cfs by Jan. 4. We reduced spilling yesterday to... Continue Reading >>

Celebrate The Season With Us

November 18, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Community

Photo by Jim Huff

If you've recently been by our corporate headquarters in Moncks Corner, chances are you've seen some of Santa's helpers getting things ready for Celebrate The Season , which returns for its fifth year to once again bring families and the community together this holiday season. Thousands of enchanting lights, and weekend Holiday Fairs are just some of the delights awaiting visitors beginning Friday, Nov. 27 .

Celebrate The Season features a nightly Holiday Lights Driving Tour with spectacular light displays along a quaint route that begins at our headquarters and winds through the adjacent Old Santee Canal Park. The month-long event is fully powered with Green Power from Santee Cooper and exclusively uses energy-efficient LEDs. Admission is $5 per vehicle, and visitors can make repeat trips through the display route on the night they attend for the price of one nightly admission.

Celebrate The Season's Holiday Lights Driving Tour is open daily except for... Continue Reading >>

Of Birds, Interns, GOFERs and Landfills: the Fall 2015 issue of PowerSource magazine

November 11, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Environmental Stewardship

Photo by Jim Huff

The fall PowerSource has become our environmentally themed issue where shine a light on the people and programs helping to advance our ambition to be good stewards of the environment.

One of the bedrocks of our environmental outreach has been the Environmental Intern Program , which celebrated its 25th anniversary this summer. More than 250 South Carolina undergraduates have participated in this unique summer internship, which exposes them to the challenges and opportunities that come with providing affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible power across South Carolina.

Also celebrating 25 years is Santee Cooper's Give Oil for Energy Recovery (or GOFER) program. In that time, GOFER has collected 30 million gallons of used oil and safely converted it to enough Santee Cooper electricity to power every average-sized home in South Carolina for 10 days.

Santee Cooper recently celebrated yet another environmental milestone when... Continue Reading >>

The teatime torrent

September 09, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Reduce The Use
The British soap opera " Eastenders " has been on the air since 1985 and rates as one of the British Broadcasting Corporation's most popular programs. It has an average audience share of 30 percent per episode, which means three out of every 10 televisions in the United Kingdom is tuned to "Eastenders" five nights a week. I'm not sure there's an American equivalent, really.

Why am I telling you this? Because if there's one thing the British love more than televised melodrama it's tea. And when that latest episode of "Eastenders" ends, approximately 1.75 million kettles are switched on at the same time.

Known as the " TV pickup ," it's become such a national routine that the British National Grid has taken measures over the years to ensure it can handle the additional 3 gigawatts of temporary demand; there's even a hydroelectric plant in Wales whose primary purpose is to absorb some of it.

Santee Cooper also has supplemental generating... Continue Reading >>

A Green Power Milestone

August 26, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Green Power
Our Green Power program achieved a major milestone this week when it generated its 1 millionth megawatt-hour of electricity after nearly 14 years of continuous production. (That's enough renewable energy to power more than 74,000 average-sized homes for a year .)

Santee Cooper was the first utility in South Carolina to generate renewable Green Power beginning in September 2001 with the Horry County Landfill Generating Station, which produces electricity from methane gas created naturally by decomposing garbage. We also brought the state's first Green Power solar station to the campus of Coastal Carolina University in 2006.

We now have more than 28 megawatts of Green Power capacity, including six landfill biogas stations, three solar arrays, and one wind turbine. Since dedicating the state's first Green Power Generating Station at the Horry County Landfill, additional landfill generating stations have opened in Anderson, Berkeley, Georgetown, Lee,... Continue Reading >>

Environmental Intern Program Celebrates 25 Years

July 15, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Education
Several years ago, Santee Cooper polled the people of South Carolina to gauge how much they knew about us.

One of the biggest takeaways was most South Carolinians didn't know a whole lot about Santee Cooper unless they were either an electric customer or a fan of lakes Marion and Moultrie — commonly called the "Santee Cooper Lakes" or, simply, "Santee Cooper" among boaters and anglers.

Santee Cooper is much more than an electric and water utility. Our mission is to be the state's leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina through:

Producing and distributing low-cost, reliable energy, water, and other essential services Providing excellent customer service Operating according to the highest ethical standards Maintaining a quality workforce Being a leader in economic development Being a steward of the environment

So, we set out 25 years ago to educate the people... Continue Reading >>

Hurricane season is here

June 03, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Storms and Outages
The Atlantic hurricane season began on Monday, June 1, and goes through Monday, Nov. 30. Although this season got off to an early start with Tropical Storm Ana , activity typically peaks between mid-August and late October.

Hurricane season is an especially tense time of year for us and other electric utilities, because hurricanes and other tropical cyclones can have devastating effects on our power-delivery systems.

Santee Cooper's retail service area in Berkeley, Georgetown, and Horry counties is prone to tropical cyclones. With the annual arrival of hurricane season, we meticulously evaluate our emergency plans to make sure we're prepared for any major weather events that could impact our system. Winds from even the weakest of hurricanes are capable of producing widespread power outages.

When severe weather like a tropical cyclone — or, more recently, a winter storm — threatens our service area, we activate a range of... Continue Reading >>

Giddy-up for the Santee Cooper Lineworker's Rodeo

April 22, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Safety
The Santee Cooper Lineworker’s Rodeo returns for its 18th year this Saturday at Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner. The public is invited to attend and cheer on these professionals as they tackle a series of challenges designed to test their skills and training.

Bragging rights are on the line, of course, but the rodeo also underscores the importance of safety and teamwork in a profession that can be dangerous and demanding.

Few things breed camaraderie like a friendly competition, and that's something else the rodeo reinforces. This year, there are 34 apprentices and nine journeyman teams registered to participate. Santee Cooper will compete alongside the electric co-ops of Berkeley , Blue Ridge , Coastal , Horry , Palmetto and York .

The individual apprentices will complete a written test and also compete in knot tying, the hurt-man rescue, the conductor tie-in, and the transformer hookup. Meanwhile, the three-person... Continue Reading >>

It's Severe Weather Awareness Week in South Carolina

March 11, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Storms and Outages
In her proclamation declaring March 8-14 Severe Weather Awareness Week in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley said, "A well-informed public educated in necessary preparedness measures is less likely to suffer personal injury, loss of life, and property damage in the wake of severe weather."

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), the National Weather Service (NWS), and the South Carolina Broadcasters Association (SCBA) jointly sponsor Severe Weather Awareness Week to remind people that severe weather is a significant hazard in South Carolina, and people need to take the necessary safety precautions .

Earlier this week, SCEMD held a statewide disaster exercise that included more than 5,000 first responders, members of the National Guard, and emergency managers at locations across South Carolina. The purpose of this exercise was to test the state's response to an emergency scenario. Today, public schools, state and local emergency... Continue Reading >>

Beating the drum for more jobs

January 29, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Economic Development
Santee Cooper has always considered economic development a critical component of our mission to be the state's leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina. Looking back on 2014, it was another banner year for these efforts.

We loaned $25.8 million to help advance economic development projects throughout the state as part of a new loan initiative we launched in 2012 to help build facilities and other commerce infrastructure to attract industry and jobs. Our board of directors also approved two site-readiness grant pools totaling $42.5 million to further help industry recruitment endeavors.

Specifically, the South Carolina Power Team Site Readiness Fund will award grants totaling up to $6 million a year for high-value projects in areas served by the state's electric cooperatives . Conjunctively, the new $2.5 million a year Santee Cooper Municipal Site Readiness Fund will offer grants for high-value projects in... Continue Reading >>

End the Holidays on a Green Note

January 05, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Environmental Stewardship
Driving home last week after a brief vacation, I was bummed by the half-dozen or so Christmas trees I saw discarded along the roads and highways. It was obvious their owners had no interest in disposing of them properly and decided to let it become someone else's problem.

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service , 33 million real Christmas trees are purchased annually in the U.S. (versus 9.5 million artificial trees). Imagine the scrap heap of spruces, pines, and firs we'd have if we all were so careless with our Christmas tree.

Santee Cooper says we can do better, which is why we've partnered with Horry County Solid Waste Authority for the Grinding of the Greens. We're asking Horry County residents to take an extra step and end the holidays on a green note.

Simply remove all lights and decorations and place your tree on the curb or bring your tree to one of the designated collection sites. The trees then will be... Continue Reading >>