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***South Carolina Says NO to Santee Cooper Rate Hikes ***

May 26, 2009

For Immediate Release Contact: Nancy Cave
26 May, 2009 843-545-0403

***South Carolina Says NO to Santee Cooper Rate Hikes ***
Horry and Georgetown Ratepayers Reject Higher Bills to Pay for Dirty Coal Plant

May 26 – Conway, Georgetown and Myrtle Beach. Responding to Santee Cooper’s plan to raise rates by at least 15 percent to pay for its Pee Dee coal plant, citizen ratepayers and conservationists will be holding a series of media events in Horry and Georgetown counties.

Their message: Santee Cooper ratepayers refuse to let their bills skyrocket to pay for a dirty, unnecessary coal plant. Because they live in Santee Cooper’s exclusive service territory, Horry and Georgetown residents face the greatest financial risk from the construction of the Pee Dee Plant.

“Santee Cooper is the sole energy provider for the Grand Strand area,” explains business owner and Myrtle Beach resident Cynthia Powell. “If this plant ends up costing millions more than projected, the people of Horry and Georgetown counties will have to pay the difference.”

An independent study of the coal plant just released by the energy-consulting firm Synapse, Inc., has found “serious weaknesses and biases” in the utility’s 2008 resource planning analyses. Among the findings:

• Santee Cooper’s proposal “entails excessive uncertainty and risk for ratepayers.”
• Santee Cooper’s construction costs are “unrealistically low and are significantly lower than other experience power plant builders and operators are currently projecting for new coal-fired power plants with similar designs.”
• Santee Cooper “ignored available cost effective energy efficiency potential,” going so far as to exclude from its computer modeling the impact of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, even if those options were less costly than building new coal capacity.

Conservation and ratepayer coalition members plan to hold press events outside the rate hike meetings Santee Cooper has planned for Horry and Georgetown counties. They will be distributing information about the rate hikes and other significant hidden costs associated with the construction of the Pee Dee coal plant.

“The fact is, this plant already costs tens of millions of dollars more than Santee Cooper is admitting,” concludes Powell. “If Santee Cooper invested in efficiency and alternatives, it could keep the lights on at a fraction of the cost and save us money on our bills.”

Loris Rate Hike Meeting (principal contact Grace Gifford, 843-365-6654)
May 26: 6:30 p.m.
Loris City Hall
4101 Walnut St.
Loris, SC

Pawleys Island Rate Hike Meeting (principal contact Nancy Cave, 843-545-0403)
May 28: 6:30 p.m.
Waccamaw High School Auditorium
2412 Kings River Rd.
Pawleys Island, SC

June 1 – 2 p.m. (principal contact Barbara McGhee, 843-650-4501)
Murrells Inlet Community Center Auditorium
4450 Murrells Inlet Rd.
Murrells Inlet, SC

June 2 – 6:30 p.m. (principal contact Bo Ives, 843-903-5112 )
Myrtle Beach Law Enforcement Center
1101 Oak St.
Myrtle Beach, SC

June 3 – 6:30 p.m. (principal contact Pam Creech, 843-222-2920)
Santee Cooper Conway Retail Office Auditorium
100 Elm St.
Conway, SC

June 4 – 2 p.m. (principal contact Bo Ives, 843-903-5112)
North Myrtle Beach City Hall
1018 Second Ave. South
N. Myrtle Beach, SC

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