Santee Cooper will provide power to its biggest customer through at least 2058 under a deal signed today.

The contract is between the state-owned public utility and Columbia-based Central Electric Power Cooperative, which sells electricity to 20 independent South Carolina co-ops.

Santee Cooper’s board of directors approved the extension at board meeting today in Moncks Corner.

Central Electric officials OK’d the deal earlier this month.

The contract affects either directly or indirectly 2 million South Carolina residents and commercial electric customers.

“Today is a win for South Carolina, which has enjoyed the fruits of our partnership with Central for more than 60 years already,” said Lonnie Carter, president and CEO of Santee Cooper.

One of the immediate benefits is that the extension could lower Santee Cooper’s borrowing costs because it will demonstrate long-term stability to bond-rating firms, Carter said.

“This should translate into lower interest rates on our debt, which helps us keep power costs low for all our customers,” he said.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.