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Santee Cooper holding solar power customers hostage!

Thanks to a reader comment, we dug into the South Carolina utility company called Santee Cooper because we wrote yesterday about how the state of South Carolina has implemented a statewide net metering law. Net-Metering is offered in most states across the USA but the customers of the Santee Cooper utility, about 2 million of them are being held hostage by the utility company becase they are not offering true net-metering.

This utility company has came up with their own sneaky plan to keep customers from buying and installing solar by offering “net-billing”, which is their own version of net-metering that totally favors the utility company. The interesting part is when you visit the Santee Cooper website they show off they “Live Green” and brag about their solar power initiatives, but it’s just plain and simple Greenwashing.

According to SourceWatch Greenwashing is defined as the following, “the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy.”

The defintion of Greenwashing perfectly fits what Santee Cooper is doing with by not offering net-metering like the rest of the country and offering a “net-billing” which really does no encorage customers to install solar panels. The South Carolina Net Metering Blog does a good job describing net billing offering by Santee Cooper.

  • Net-Billing is a pilot program in which only 10 people can participate.
  • Once you install a solar power system and particpate in the program you have to change your rate to time of use.
  • Since its a pilot program, there can be dramatic shifts in policy which could leave the solar power system owner holding the bags.
  • Santee Cooper’s board of directors can change the program at their will.
  • The CEO of the company thinks they are being generous compared to other utilites.

We here in California have very generous utility companies (even though they are not perfect) Our state has the most solar power installations compared to anywhere else in the USA. So this message goes out to Santee Cooper, get your act together, offer real net-metering and stop playing games with your customers, we have no time to play these types of games and discorage the use of solar power, the renewable energy revolution is going to happen with or without Santee Cooper.

Santee Cooper customers, if you are dealing with the utility to install solar power on your home or business and are having trouble with Santee Cooper and their lame Net-Billing policy, there is help! SEPA (Solar Electric Power Association) that faciliates the relationship between utility companies and customers who want to go solar.


Author: Deep Patel

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3 Comments

  1. Subject: Net Metering and T Boone Pickens

    To all who read your column the fact that we are stilling having a debate on how to win the energy race means we have done nothing to help change the situation. If an Oil Man from Texas can spend 58 million of his own money to try and wake us up than we should be doing something to respond. Talk is cheap and T Boone Pickens know’s if we lose this race against time there will be no second chance. When as he has said in his ads we are sending 700 Billion Dollars a year out of this countries wealth to feed a habit built on oil consumption we are giving away the ranch.

    We have the opportunity of a life time to change the way we control the use of energy. Those of us who have for years said it will take care of itself and we can work through this should wake up. We are about to be surprised by a paradigm shift that will take us back 200 years if we don’t. Want to know what it’s like living in pollution and partial power look to the Beijing Olympics for solutions alternate driving days odd or even, seeding rain clouds and the curtailing of mass transit not to mention the rejection of Visa’s for visitors.

    We live in South Carolina not China but if we don’t stop talking and start doing something we might as well all learn Chinese. The Tourist is the life blood of our economy. There will be no one to visit this beautiful State if we keep doing the same things. If they do come they might have to travel on alternate weekends.

    Solutions are out there but a government bent on keeping the status quo is doomed to failure. Net metering is the start of individual responsibility. Don’t walk away from the chance to change the future for our grandchildren’s lives.
    Start thinking about somebody other than yourselves. If you are in government live into your responsibility do it for the next generation. The future we give others is the lasting memory of great leaders.

    It might be a mountain of change but if we take it one step at time we can do it. We are all in this together. Encourage anyone you work with, meet or talk to about this issue. To embrace change is the mantra we need to grasp. Start with Net Metering and let’s get out of the position of always being last in this country to adopt something.

    Sincerely William Dowling
    402 w Carolina Ave
    Summerville SC 29483

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  2. Bill,

    Thanks for your comment, yes I agree Net Metering is such an important policy that not many politicians are discussing, we do have the power to change the future and net metering is an important factor of our future energy policy.

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