PINOPOLIS, SC (WMBF) - Santee Cooper customers can expect to see bigger numbers on their electric bills starting in April.
The board of directors approved a rate increase Monday that has been a topic of discussion for months now.
This is the first rate adjustment since 2013.
Santee Cooper started studying rates back in October 2014 then presented the proposed rate adjustment in June.
The board approved a 6.7% increase for residential customers and a 6.64% rise for commercial customers for 2016.
Residential customers will then pay 2.2% more and commercial customers will be charged 2.67 in 2017.
The original proposal included a rate adjustment for 2018 as well, but the finance committee decided to hold off on that vote.
"Management can do another study on how the rates will be affected in the future," said Nicole Aiello, spokesperson for Santee Cooper. "So it gives them a little bit more time to really sit down and study those a little bit harder."
The new rates will go into effect April 1, 2016 and then again after April 1, 2017.
Santee Cooper is using the extra funds to make up for a loss in projected new customers during the recession and also to pay for two new nuclear stations.
"We saw down the road that the regulations that would be coming down from the government would really start to limit those carbon emissions," Aiello said. "We're a little bit ahead of the curve, but that also means that building any generation like that is a little more costly."
Aiello recommends business owners change over to more efficient lighting to save money. She said homeowners and renters can keep the temperature below 68 degrees in the winter or above 78 degrees in the summer to save on costs. Also, Santee Cooper offers energy advisers to help people increase their efficiency.
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Proposed Santee Cooper rate hike would begin next year