Santee Cooper is closing three retail offices in the Myrtle Beach area, the company announced today.
The state-owned utility will close its Garden City Beach office on April 27, its North Myrtle Beach office on June 1 and its Conway office on June 29. Offices in Myrtle Beach and Moncks Corner will remain open.
The utility said the closings will save customers approximately $1 million a year. It also announced the addition of a new mobile app, an enhanced online payment portal and bank partnerships that it said will add more than 17 payment locations.
“We work to continuously improve the way we do business in order to provide reliable and affordable service for our customers,” said Mike Poston, vice president of Santee Cooper’s retail operations, in a statement. “We believe this cost-saving effort is the right decision for our customers, and the bank partnerships will provide more options and a more cost-effective way to meet our customers’ needs.”
Customers can pay Santee Cooper bills in person at Western Union agents as well as at all Anderson Brothers Banks in Horry and Georgetown County, all Coastal Carolina National Banks in Horry County, two Palmetto Heritage Banks in Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet, and one Conway National Bank in Pawleys Island.
Santee Cooper is saddled with $4 million in debt related to the failed nuclear reactor project at the V.C. Summer power station in Fairfield County. S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has been shopping the utility to potential out-of-state buyers, including Virginia-based Dominion Energy, which has announced a $14.6 billion proposal to acquire SCANA, parent company of SCE&G, co-owner of the project.
Dominion has said it is not interested in acquiring Santee Cooper. McMaster also approached Charlotte-based Duke Energy, Florida-based NextEra Energy and Atlanta-based Southern Co. about buying the utility, a move some hope would restart the reactors’ construction.
Dominion vice president of corporate communications Chet Wade said Friday that the company has no plans to restart the project, but said making sure the site was safe would be a “responsibility” if the proposed merger receives regulatory and SCANA shareholder approval.