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Santee Cooper Board approves 2018 budget

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Santee Cooper’s board of directors approved a $2.1 billion budget for 2018 which includes $1.7 billion for the electric system, $9.8 million for water systems and $378.6 million for capital expenditures.

“In our 2018 budget, we focused on reducing costs while maintaining excellent service for our customers,” Jim Brogdon, interim president and CEO, said in a statement. “We’ve been able to achieve overall annual cost reductions of $40 million and will continue to work toward more efficiencies.”

The approved budget does not include the use of funds from a settlement with Toshiba until July 1 to ensure compliance with potential legislative proposals. The budget directs Santee Cooper to utilize those funds for debt reduction measures and to pass the resulting savings on to Santee Cooper customers.

The state-owned utility sold its portion of a $2.17 billion settlement with Westinghouse parent company Toshiba to Citibank in September, receiving $831.2 million. In July, Toshiba agreed to pay Santee Cooper and S.C. Electric & Gas nearly $2.2 billion to cap its liabilities from the often-delayed and eventually abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear reactor project.

SCE&G parent company SCANA received slightly more than $1 billion in the settlement, which did not include October’s first scheduled payment from Toshiba.

Santee Cooper expects about 150 employees to retire by June 30, and the utility will reduce costs by eliminating some of those positions. Cost reductions are also expected to come from deferred capital projects.

Approximately 42% of the 1.7 billion electric system budget is allocated for fuel and purchased power.

The $378.6 million for construction and capital equipment spending includes:

  • $186.3 million to improve renewable generation and environmental controls
  • $185.3 million for the transmission and distribution systems and system-wide improvements

The board also approved the 2019 and 2020 budgets for planning purposes.

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