It’s time for residential power customers who get their power from Berkeley Co-op and Santee Cooper to pay attention to the power agreement for Mount Holly Century Aluminum.

Santee Cooper will not agree to a deal of $13 million a year to use the transmission line to get power to our plant from a third party. They say that this would be an unfair deal and would raise the rates of Santee Cooper residential power customers and others like Berkeley Co-op.

From The Post and Courier:

“The company said last week it will close its Mount Holly plant by the end of this year if state-owned utility Santee Cooper does not agree to a plan in which Century would buy its electricity from an undisclosed, out-of-state supplier. That supplier would have to use Santee Cooper’s transmission lines to bring power to the smelter, a concession the utility says it can’t make because it would unfairly raise costs for other customers.”

A key sticking point involves Century Aluminum’s offer to pay Santee Cooper about $13 million a year in “standard transmission rates,” so that the unidentified out-of-state power provider can use the Moncks Corner-based utility’s lines.

Santee Cooper spokeswoman Mollie Gore said that rate, established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is not available to retail customers but allows utilities to buy wholesale power from the grid “to protect the reliability of our power system.”

OK, so there will be an unfair raise in costs for other customers if we pay Santee Cooper $13 million a year just to use the transmission line.

But what kind of unfair rise in cost would the other customers get if Century Aluminum closes?

From The Post and Courier: “Century Aluminum accounts for about 8.8 percent of Santee Cooper’s annual electric revenues, or roughly $175 million. ... If Century Aluminum closes, Santee Cooper says the impact to its bottom line would be a wash.”

So if Century Aluminum gets a deal, it equals an unfair rise in cost to other customers. But if Century Aluminum closes, Santee Cooper will lose $175 million in annual revenues, and they call that a wash.

So why would you think that is a wash?

Maybe because they are pushing a rate increase to all of the residential power customers. How can you lose $175 million and call it a wash?

The people of Berkeley County need to pay attention and understand that we are fighting the big company that thinks it can do whatever it wants and we have to just sit back and take it.

Join the fight.

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Stephen Howard

Employee of Century


Navaho Boulevard


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