As the rest of South Carolina and the country move forward with increased solar power opportunities for home and business owners, Santee Cooper staff have proposed snuffing out rooftop solar as an option for their customers.
On October 16th in Pawleys Island, the Santee Cooper Board of Directors will hold a public meeting regarding this staff proposal that would penalize home and business owners that invest in rooftop solar. Please consider attending this meeting to speak up for your right to affordable solar access.
Here are a few talking points:
- In contrast to private utilities like SCE&G and Duke Energy, Santee Cooper, a public agency owned by the people of South Carolina, proposes to add new fees that will make solar prohibitively expensive.
- This proposal would require customers that install solar panels to pay fees that other customers don’t pay. Santee Cooper is proposing to charge customers more money for using less power.
- This proposal fails to account for the value of rooftop solar and would not fully credit customers for the solar power they produce.
- This proposal conflicts with recent South Carolina legislation (Act 236) enacted to encourage solar. The goal of Act 236, which passed unanimously by the General Assembly and was signed by Governor Haley, is “to promote the establishment of a reliable, efficient, and diversified portfolio of distributed energy resources for the State.”
- Act 236 was also intended to open the way for solar leasing, which allows customers to install solar panels without upfront costs and start saving money on electricity bills from day one. The Santee Cooper proposal would make solar leasing a non-starter for their customers.
- Like energy efficiency, solar allows customers to reduce the impact of increasing rates on their monthly power bills. That is something to be encouraged, not punished.
- Santee Cooper should abandon the current solar rate proposal in favor of proven policies adopted by other utilities, which pay solar customers a fair retail rate for the power they produce and take into account the value solar investments bring to the overall electric grid.
Ultimately, Santee Cooper’s staff is flouting an approach to solar that Governor Haley and the state legislature have laid out for South Carolina. The Santee Cooper Board can and should reject this proposal, but they will need to hear from the public on October 16th about why their customers should have the same access to solar as other utility customers across the state.
Energy Program Director