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74 years of generating electricity


February 17, 2016   By Willard Strong in Santee Cooper History
Santee Cooper is observing a historical milestone this week: the 74th anniversary of generating our first electricity, which occurred at Unit 2, a hydroelectric turbine, on Feb. 17, 1942, at what was then known as the Pinopolis Power Plant.

The dream of the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project had been realized.

Early 1942 was an uncertain time in our nervous nation. The U.S. had entered World War II only a few months prior, following the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. The two lakes, then known as the Santee Reservoir and the Pinopolis Reservoir, had begun filling up on Nov. 12, 1941, only a few weeks before war was declared on Japan and Germany.

Formally entering the fight against the Axis powers is a part of Santee Cooper’s history. That first flow of power went to a defense contractor in North Charleston: the Pittsburgh Metallurgical Co., located on the banks of the Cooper River. They made... Continue Reading >>

Giving thanks and giving back


November 25, 2015   By Willard Strong in Community
Santee Cooper - United Way Day of Caring

Santee Cooper employees volunteer for the 2015 Trident United Way Day of Caring.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the blessings we have and the yuletide season also gives us the opportunity to reach out and help others.

At the risk of sounding like horn-tooting, the recently concluded fundraising effort for Trident United Way showed the generosity of Santee Cooper employees in the Moncks Corner area who again stepped up to make this year a record-setting effort, and contributing to make the Lowcountry a better place to live.

Our employees also contribute to United Way campaigns in Horry County, where we serve the municipalities of Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, Surfside Beach and Loris. Anderson County, where we have a generating station, also has our employees as part of their campaign.

The barrel of worthy causes will never be empty, of course, and one particular charitable organization cannot be everything to everybody. It is amazing to me the level of participation our employees exhibit year... Continue Reading >>

Elevate your heat pump


October 14, 2015   By Willard Strong in Storms and Outages

Santee Cooper recently concluded a 10-day spill at the Santee Dam. (Jim Huff/Santee Cooper)

The recent flooding in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Grand Strand affected a lot of people. Some greatly, some not so great. I was lucky. While my backyard was essentially a pond for a few days, I wasn't impacted as so many were.

What happened to me was minor when contrasted to other folks. I was fretting that my relatively new, high-efficiency, Energy Star-certified heat pump would be inundated by the flooding. The ponding, the standing water, just kept getting higher and higher. Thankfully, the Tempstar unit was on a concrete slab with just enough inches of elevation to spare it from water entering the base of the unit.

I may have been stressing over this too much. I don't know how much water it could have endured before destruction set in, but I was glad I didn't have to find out. I almost began a ditching operation that would have been of questionable effectiveness to route the water away. I don't know if other homeowners had their heat pumps... Continue Reading >>

Going nuclear


September 03, 2015   By Willard Strong in Energy Matters
Santee Cooper has been strategically and proactively working to reduce emissions through a number of initiatives, including closing four coal units at Jefferies and Grainger generating stations, adding renewables , providing customers with rebate-centered energy efficiency programs — and constructing new nuclear units. 

The October 2012 announcement to retire the Jefferies and Grainger generating stations marked the first time in Santee Cooper's 70-year generating history that it slated a baseload facility for decommissioning. Not much lasts forever in this world, and Jefferies and Grainger were reliable performers that served our customers well, beginning in the 1950s.

The decision to build baseload generation is one of the most important — if not the most important — decision an electric utility makes. Constructing a power plant requires planning, permitting and sometimes, perseverance.

There are challenges along... Continue Reading >>

A snappy guide to a healthy heat-pump filter


July 22, 2015   By Willard Strong in Reduce The Use
Raise your hand if it seems your heat pump's been staying on more this summer.

Yeah, my hand's up too.

Since it's too hot to go anywhere, this latest heat wave is a good time to check the indoor air filter on your heat pump. (Your system may have more than one.) If your heat pump's running more than normal, it means the filter is clogging up quicker, which means the heat pump is working harder, which means it isn't working as efficiently, which means increased power usage.

No one needs that.

Deciding on the type of filter for your heat pump isn't easy — another example of life presenting so many product choices. Allergy sufferers may opt to spend a little more on a filter that removes allergens like dust and pet dander from the air, while there are plenty of consumers who are perfectly fine with spending the bare minimum.

It's important to remember that the more effective a filter is, the likelier it... Continue Reading >>