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A “Graduate” Reflects

May 16, 2018   By Susan Mungo in Community
As May blends with June, we see college graduation celebrations mingling with those of high school seniors. I, too, am graduating. This week I received a certificate that marked my graduation from Santee Cooper. The certificate marks three decades of time as a Santee Cooper employee.  Like any student, I have learned so many valuable things and I will walk out the door a proud Santee Cooper alum, grateful for all the ways the people who make this company great have enriched my life.

I came on board in 1989, the year of Hugo and the great Christmas snow. What a christening that was. After almost total devastation, employees worked together to bring power back to the entire state after Hugo. I saw linemen working from boats and wearing hip waders to restore power after the terrible floods of Floyd (1999).

After the more recent, Hurricane Matthew (2016), I watched as we lost power to about 75 percent of our customer base. I listened as an employee,... Continue Reading >>

Linemen: Powering and Saving Lives

March 28, 2018   By Susan Mungo in Community

Lineworkers resotoring power near St. Stephen after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Linemen from across the state recently gathered in at Horry Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) in Conway to compete against one another. This is an annual event and this year was sponsored by Santee Cooper along with The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and hosted by HGTC.

For more than 20 years it has been known as the lineworker’s rodeo . But if you have ever known a lineman and if you have ever seen one in action, you know this was more than a competition; this was a gathering of individuals who love what they do, have real respect for one another and put their lives on the line daily to make ours more comfortable.

I have known many linemen in my life and most have one thing in common, they absolutely love what they do. I love to ask them why they became a lineman. They say everything from “it is what I wanted since I was little” to “the minute I put those hooks on I was hooked!”

Whether it is... Continue Reading >>

Where Do You Get Your Energy?

February 21, 2018   By Susan Mungo in Energy Matters

Santee Cooper strives to provide its customers with reliable, affordable electric power.

I’ve heard a lot lately about how living in the great state of South Carolina means you have higher energy bills than most other states. I beg to differ.

The fact is, as a Santee Cooper customer, what I pay per kilowatt-hour of electricity is lower than most.

So where are those stories or facts coming from? Are energy and electricity bills the same thing? That is actually kind of like comparing apples to oranges. Here in the South, most (64 percent) of us have all- electric homes.

That probably means our energy bill and our electricity bill is close to being interchangeable. But if you use natural gas at home for anything, the cost for gas should be added to the overall “energy bill.”

In other parts of the country, as much as 82 percent of the population use another fuel source to heat or cool their home. They also often use gas to cook with or keep their water heater running.  That means they are not... Continue Reading >>

The Chill from Winter Storm Grayson could scorch your wallet

January 10, 2018   By Susan Mungo in Reduce The Use

Moncks Corner’s Unity Park, located on Main Street, was a winter wonderland in the aftermath of Winter Storm Grayson that dumped 6.5 inches of snow on the town served by Santee Cooper. Overnight temperatures in the teens for several days after the storm that stressed heat pumps will surely result in higher than normal electric bills.

It has been cold!

In fact, South Carolina has seen record setting bitter cold with snow and ice to boot.  Whether you love or hate this kind of weather, one thing is almost certain: If you heat your home with a heat pump, you will see an increase in your electricity bill.

You may say, “But I did not raise my thermostat” or “I was not even home most of the time,” but the real problem is that most people don’t understand exactly how a heat pump works. I used to be one of those people. I just thought if I want to be warmer, I will turn up the thermostat and if I want to be cooler, I will turn it down.

Treating your need to be hot or cold this way may not make a huge difference until you go seven or eight days straight with temperatures below 40 degrees. Myrtle Beach, along with many other areas, went from Jan.1 to Jan.7 with high temperatures around or below 40 degrees and many night time temperatures falling... Continue Reading >>

Solar Share at Santee Cooper Harnesses Sun Power to Your Benefit and Convenience

November 15, 2017   By Susan Mungo in Green Energy

The Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro, S.C. is part of Santee Cooper’s commitment to renewable energy.

I am one of those people who like to be able to have my cake and eat it too.

I admit that most of the time life does not work out that way. Every now and then, though, we all get lucky.

Santee Cooper has a solar program that has made being green and using solar power a situation where I can not only have my cake, but I can eat it, too. I can also use the sun to bake that cake. 

Solar Share is a community solar program that allows me to offset my energy usage with solar power. But I don’t have to install or maintain anything! No rooftop panels and no special equipment in my home, and Santee Cooper automatically credits my bill based on the size of my subscription and my share of the monthly output produced at the Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro.

Rather than spend money on equipment, I buy a subscription in amounts that range from 1 to 6 kilowatts. Santee Cooper even offers me a rebate for each kilowatt I purchase... Continue Reading >>

A Bird in the Hand

September 27, 2017   By Susan Mungo in
Santee Cooper’s Board of Directors approved an agreement on Sept. 27 to sell the monetary rights to our portion of the $2.168 billion Toshiba Guaranty Settlement Claim to Citibank, N.A. This is a good move and will benefit customers and other stakeholders.

The agreement completely shifts the risk away from Santee Cooper and customers of collecting those dollars from Toshiba over the next five years, which was part of the terms of the Toshiba Guaranty Settlement Claim. It also means Santee Cooper will receive $831.2 million right away, for its 45 percent share.

The agreement does not include the first-scheduled payment from Toshiba of $150 million, of which Santee Cooper’s share is $67.5 million. That payment is expected on Oct. 1. Combining the agreement with Citibank and the first-scheduled payment from Toshiba, Santee Cooper will receive $898.7 million. 

You may wonder how this provides stability or good news other than... Continue Reading >>

Old Santee Canal Park perfect venue for eclipse, despite Mother Nature’s reluctance to cooperate

August 23, 2017   By Susan Mungo in Community

Santee Cooper photographer Paul Zoeller took this image of the solar eclipse at Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner on Aug. 21 at the time totality.

“ The Great American Eclipse ” as it is being called, happened this past Monday. From the Oregon coast to the coast of South Carolina millions were able to view a total eclipse of the sun for the first time in 26 years.

In South Carolina, from the mountains to the sea, small towns and venues had prepared for large crowds and they showed. Old Santee Canal Park was a hot spot in the middle of the path for those desiring a family friendly spot in the path of totality.

Planning for big events and being a part of historical events is nothing new for Old Santee Canal Park. It’s history dates back to the days when roads were nonexistent and settlers looked for ways to export their cotton and indigo down river to Charleston.  It is known for hosting such successful events as the Shuckin’ in the Park in March, Celebrate The Season during the holidays, summer camps and the newest event, this month’s Palmetto Pirates Festival. Continue Reading >>

Being social

April 26, 2017   By Susan Mungo in Community

Line Technician A Jamie Cook and his crew took over Santee Cooper’s social media for a day.

I recently had the opportunity to assist a line crew who took over Santee Cooper’s social media pages for a day.

As I worked with them throughout that day and watched them attempt to show the world a quick glimpse of what goes into their day, it made me stop and think about all of the opportunities we have as a company to tell our customers a little something about who we are.

Even if you are reading this blog, you may not know that Santee Cooper has a website that provides information about us. Everything from our history to how you can pay your bill can be found there.  We have a newsroom page that also offers access to things like this blog along with press releases, online versions of our quarterly PowerSource magazine and videos, and other stories of events we are involved in.

If you are active on social media, you may know and even follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.  In fact, we hope that you... Continue Reading >>

Ready to spring into action

March 15, 2017   By Susan Mungo in Customer Care
This past Sunday, we sprang forward into daylight saving time and on a direct path to spring. The only problem was, the weather didn’t seem to get the memo.  As I write this blog, I am feeling grateful that our area only saw cold temperatures and a dusting of snow mixed with rain.

I am so thankful that we were spared the large amount of snow, ice and damaging winds that many states experienced.  You know, the kind of winter weather that can wreak havoc on our electrical system causing customers to be without power. We were fortunate and our system showed zero customers without power due to the weather. We were, however, ready and waiting in case you called.

At Santee Cooper, we have a Distribution Control Center that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No matter what the weather, we are ready to respond should something cause you to lose power. You can visit our storm center to report outages and other power problems, or if... Continue Reading >>

The heartbeat of South Carolina

February 01, 2017   By Susan Mungo in Community

Santee Cooper employees have a long tradition of giving back to the communities in which we serve.

February is designated heart month by the American Heart Association. Here at Santee Cooper we feel like we are part of the very heartbeat of South Carolina all year long.

Throughout our history we have provided essential services and supported charitable organizations. We’ve provided employment to individuals whose hearts have always beaten to the drum of helping and providing for citizens and businesses in our community, our state and even our country.

When Santee Cooper first generated power on Feb. 17, 1942, the first power delivered was to North Charleston’s Pittsburgh Metallurgical Corp. (later Macalloy), a smeltering operation. They produced ferrochromium, a critical defense metal important during World War II  to harden steel for battleships and tanks, among other uses.

Santee Cooper, whose formal name is the South Carolina Public Service Authority, was created in 1934 to bring electricity to underserved and rural... Continue Reading >>

The power of giving after the struggle of loss

December 14, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Community

Jessica Richardson, Santee Cooper Customer Services Representative

As the Pee Dee River rose to historic levels and breached her home, Jessica Richardson worked 12-hour shifts in Santee Cooper’s Customer Call Center. As she calmed customers who were without power, her husband called to tell her the river would soon overtake their home.

Her children were already in a safe place, but her dogs and her belongings were in the flood’s path. Jessica simply asked her husband to “just get my dogs out.” She remained on the job, helping customers.

Jessica remembers how sad her children were to lose their cherished memories and belongings to the flood. Not wanting other children to feel loss because of their family’s situation, Jessica recently chose a tag from an Angel Tree and adopted a child from Aynor’s Christmas list.

Jessica is one of many employees who took care of Santee Cooper customers while their own homes were destroyed by winds or flood waters from... Continue Reading >>

Don’t get Scrooged by scammers this holiday season

December 07, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Customer Care

Don’t let a scamming Scrooge get your hard-earned money.

The most wonderful time of the year is now in full swing. People enjoy a spirit of giving that can make peace on earth seem like an attainable goal. There is, however, still the ever-present Scrooge that seems to show up just when you think there is a chance for real goodwill toward men.

Many utility customers are finding that a particular irritating version of Scrooge rears its ugly head in the form of a scam call demanding payment of your electric bill. Very savvy fraudsters can convince you that they are Santee Cooper and that you have to pay your bill immediately, often with a special prepaid card or else your power will be turned off.

If you are a residential customer, we want you to be diligent about verifying anyone trying to get money or personal information from you. And while these scammers do call homeowners, this type of scam typically targets businesses who cannot afford to lose power because of lost revenue. In the moment of frustration,... Continue Reading >>

Reflections of Hurricane Matthew

October 19, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Community

Santee Cooper crews and crews from out-of-state worked relentlessly to restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew that struck The heart of Santee Cooper’s service territory on Oct. 8.

As I sat in my office on Oct. 7 watching Hurricane Matthew do the “wobble”, I had no idea how much life would change for some that weekend. Today, power has been restored to all of our customers who can receive power and life has resumed some sense of normalcy. But for some, everything changed. In fact I think it is safe to say Hurricane Matthew left a mark on the people of South Carolina.

By Saturday afternoon, it appeared Gov. Haley and “Team South Carolina” had made a brilliant decision to evacuate the coastal areas of South Carolina. Instead of taking a projected big right turn, Matthew kept a straighter line and seemed to pound the coastal regions of South Carolina for hours. The storm, along with a high tide, chewed away at the sand dunes and piers along our beaches. The high winds and flooding rains hit the state hard. For Santee Cooper alone, 137,000 of our 178,000 customers were in the dark.

By Sunday morning , Santee... Continue Reading >>

Your place in the sun

August 24, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Green Energy

The sun can be a source of energy for your home and Santee Cooper offers you opportunities.

While I don’t love the heat and humidity the South is famous for, I do love the sun.

Like country singer Kenny Chesney, I like to say my place in the sun is some beach, somewhere. But the truth is, it doesn’t really matter if I am lying on a beach, paddleboarding on a lake, swimming in the ocean or hanging out by the pool, soaking up the sun just seems to energize me.

Last week I had the opportunity to talk with two Santee Cooper customers who also seem to love the sun and are soaking it up for energy in a way that can actually save them money.

These Santee Cooper customers are taking advantage of Santee Cooper’s solar programs . One customer chose to take advantage of Santee Cooper’s solar home program .

He and his family are currently part-time residents of Myrtle Beach with plans to move here permanently. He said the rooftop program made economic sense to him. He took advantage of the... Continue Reading >>

Make summer boating fun no accident

July 20, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Santee Cooper Lakes

Boats ply the Tailrace Canal near Moncks Corner, which connects to the west branch of the Cooper River and to Lake Moultrie, via the Pinopolis Lock at Santee Cooper’s Jefferies Hydroelectric Station.

I love certain things about every season of the year.  The cool mornings and vibrant colors of fall, flavored coffee and sitting by the fire in winter, and morning runs in the spring are all things I thoroughly enjoy. When it comes to summer, time spent on or near the water, is added to the list of my favorite things.

I am also a fan of the Santee Cooper Lakes, home to some of the best recreation and water sports fun available anywhere.  This time of year, the lakes are often crowded and full of activity, so a day on the water can create lifelong memories.  It can also result in tragedy.  One of the most important things you can do before going on any body of water is know the safety rules and procedures for the activities you plan to enjoy.

Our Santee Cooper web page and the SCDNR have lists of boating safety tips that you should be familiar with. Of course the list includes: Know how to operate your watercraft, wear your personal... Continue Reading >>

Storm Ready

May 24, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Storms and Outages

A hurricane as seen from space can be a tremendously large storm system with the potential to affect millions of people who should always be prepared to keep themselves, their families and their property safe.

The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1, and ends Nov. 1. Now is the time to make sure you have a plan and have prepared should a storm threaten our area.

I had only been working at Santee Cooper for about nine months when Hurricane Hugo devastated our direct service territory, which is portions of Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties.  I can still remember the confusion and chaos those first few hours after the storm. We were very fortunate that even though our entire system was down, we worked together with the help of the state’s electric cooperatives and crews from surrounding states and had all power restored across the state within two weeks.  We had emergency action plans in place, even some 27 years ago, and that helped us bring back the light that much more efficiently.

We have learned something from every storm that has come our way.  At Santee Cooper, we use that information to fine tune or even... Continue Reading >>

Can you dig it?

April 13, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Safety
Planting season is finally here! After a cool, blustery weekend, the sun and warmer temperatures have arrived and with them, a pretty good bet the chance for frost is gone. So now is the time to get started planting.

You may have a full-fledged garden, or you may be more like me, only interested in growing flowers and shrubbery around your home. Either way, we at Santee Cooper encourage you to plant safely.

While you should be careful with garden tools, what I’d specifically like to talk about is calling to have underground lines marked before you dig that first hole. Safe digging is your responsibility and a law in South Carolina. SC 811 offers a free service to help you have buried lines, near or on your property, marked so that you do not accidentally cut into a service wire.

Whether it is an electrical, phone or cable wire, cutting into one can be both dangerous and inconvenient. With electrical lines, it can actually be... Continue Reading >>

Striving for Zero Waste

March 02, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Environmental Stewardship

Santee Cooper fly ash was used in the construction of the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston. (Photo by Jim Huff/Santee Cooper)

I love to watch DIY shows that repurpose old, broken, or otherwise unusable items into something that looks so cool everybody wants one. The experts always amaze me with their creativity. They make me believe that turning some old, discarded item into a work of art, or at least into something useful, takes just a little effort and some imagination. They don't waste or throw away anything, not even an old wooden pallet.

At Santee Cooper, we try to put some of those same principles and practices to work. Our goal is to be a zero-waste business, and we practice single-stream recycling at all of our facilities to help us get there. Single-stream recycling is a system where all recyclables (i.e. newspaper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, junk mail, etc.) are placed in a single bin or cart for recycling.

We also have two recycling facilities where used utility poles, wire, scrap metal, insulators, light fixtures and other materials are examined, refurbished... Continue Reading >>

Paying your bills is now a one-stop shop

January 20, 2016   By Susan Mungo in Customer Care
I love things that make life more convenient, like paying my bills online or through automatic draft. I especially love the convenience of being able to accomplish many things with a single stop. You know what I mean: the whole "one-stop shop" concept.

At Santee Cooper, we are trying to make life more of a one-stop shop for our customers. We've added a new method to our list of easy and convenient ways to pay . Now any Western Union Agent location in the United States will take your Santee Cooper payment. That adds over 1,300 bill-pay locations in South Carolina alone. Wow.

What's better is many of these WU Agent locations are inside stores where you shop for other things: places like Walgreens, Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, Rite Aid and a host of others.

If you want to find the closest place to make your payment, you can use the easy Western Union locator link. All locations take cash payments, and certain locations accept... Continue Reading >>

Day Tripping at Old Santee Canal Park

December 09, 2015   By Susan Mungo in Community

Photo by Jim Huff

I can't believe Christmas break begins this weekend for some students. To me, it feels as if summer was just a few weeks ago, but that may be in part because our fall weather has been fairly mild.

With the kids out of school and sunny, mild days in the forecast, you may be looking for a great day trip or family excursion. Old Santee Canal Park offers the perfect spot for a fun filled and educational outing.

Opened in 1989, Old Santee Canal Park (OSCP) is located in Moncks Corner where Biggin Creek joins the Cooper River. This 195-acre park offers guests excellent bird watching, hiking, canoeing and four miles of boardwalks allowing you up close and personal views of the creek's natural habitat.

In the middle of all this nature is the park's Interpretive Center. Here you can enjoy learning about native wildlife, watch a film on animals and the history of the area or read about the area's chronicled history as far back as 4000 B.C. You can... Continue Reading >>