Palmetto State businesses to get energy discount, residential ra - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Palmetto State businesses to get energy discount, residential rates on rise

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Santee Cooper Power Spokeswoman Mollie Gore said Starting Feb. 1, businesses choosing to expand their operation in South Carolina can receive, on average, a 20 percent discount on their electricity rates. Santee Cooper Power Spokeswoman Mollie Gore said Starting Feb. 1, businesses choosing to expand their operation in South Carolina can receive, on average, a 20 percent discount on their electricity rates.

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF)  Businesses across the Palmetto state are now eligible for a big discount on their energy bills.

Santee Cooper Power Spokeswoman Mollie Gore said Starting Feb. 1, businesses choosing to expand their operation in South Carolina can receive, on average, a 20 percent discount on their electricity rates.

"It gives industries looking to expand in South Carolina the opportunity to do so," Gore explained. "And get a little bit of a break on their power bills."

Gore said companies are eligible if they are in an area served by Santee Cooper or one of multiple participating energy coops in the state, and if their expansion efforts require one megawatt of new firm energy load.

Myrtle Beach based aviation company Avcraft President Mike Hill said his company, already in the process of expanding in Myrtle Beach, could benefit substantially from the discount.

"Any reduction in your cost of doing business helps go to raising capitol," Hill stressed. "Capitol to help expand the business, and any expansion helps create jobs."

The move comes on the heels of an announcement from Santee Cooper that they would be raising energy rates for residential customers between three and four percent, likely by the end of 2012. 

Gore said most of the money from the rate increase would be used to build new nuclear power facilities, a strategy she said is crucial to generating low cost energy in the future.

"Long term, nuclear [power] is one of the most affordable sources of generation there is," Gore said.  "But economic development is vital to getting our economy jump started again"

Energy rate discounts for businesses are scheduled to last until December 31, 2014, while the hike in residential rates is planned to take hold by the end of this year.

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