Letter to the Editor: Santee Cooper

Rural households across our nation spend a disproportionate share of their income on energy bills. It’s a huge problem in the South, especially in low-income homes. It is not right that people face decisions of should they buy a prescription, food or pay their utility bill.

Since 2012, Santee Cooper, the state-owned and largest utility, has increased rates by 15% to build the VC Summer nuclear plant that ultimately failed. The immediate impact felt by laid-off workers and the local rural community was horrendous enough but the fall-out will continue for years to come because of the lingering debt of $10 billion. Rates are expected to increase unless major changes take place.

This is a real negative impact on low-income, marginalized communities where regular, everyday folks working 2-3 jobs, lack transportation make real-life decisions about keeping the lights on.

Where is the leadership asking the questions for the “least of these” in South Carolina?

Santee Cooper is conducting a getting to “know the CEO” tour of our state with “movers and shakers” but where is the concern for those folks who can’t afford the admission fee for private receptions or closed forums.

If Santee Cooper is sold to a private company, it will be accountable to our Public Service Commission and will have to justify raising rates before implementation. Right now they are not accountable to anyone and it shows in who gets face-time with the new, acting CEO. Where is the accountability? How can you trust the plan when the plan is not shared with everyone?

Marilyn L. Hemingway, CEO & President
Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce
Marilyn@GullahGeecheeChamber.org
marilyn.hemingway@gmail.com

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