Santee Cooper, Central Electric sign multi-billion-dollar extension

MONCHKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- Two Lowcountry companies providing energy to 2 million South Carolinians announced Monday they had signed a multi-billion-dollar extension to an existing deal.

Officials with Santee Cooper and Central Election Power Cooperative said the deal extension would save South Carolinians money.

"Today's signing puts in place significant changes that will help makeour two organizations partners in power supply planning and delivery," saidRonald J. Calcaterra, president and CEO of Central. "It will be a true andeffective partnership that aligns the interests of both parties."

The boards of both organizations approved the agreement. Now the two entities are bound to each other until 2058, a long-term expansion for two groups who have already been paired up for more than 60 years.

"Today is a win for South Carolina, whichhas enjoyed the fruits of our partnership with Central for more than 60 yearsalready," said Lonnie Carter, president and CEO of Santee Cooper. "Oneimmediate benefit of this extension is it will provide the credit agencies thestability that they need as they evaluate our bonds. This should translate into lower interest rates on our debt,which helps us keep power costs low for all our customers."

"More than a yearago, the board directed staff to push hard for long-term rate and contractimprovements," said Lawrence J. Hinz, Central's board chairman, "and boardmembers were unanimous in their approval of that hard work. Congratulations tothe staffs of both organizations for working together for the good of all."

O.L. Thompson,Santee Cooper Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, "From providingelectricity to every corner of the state, to our work with the Power Team{} and renewable Green Power, we've deliveredmany groundbreaking projects already. Today's signing signals more opportunityahead for what is truly a powerful partnership."