Santee Cooper taking public comment on rate increase

MONCKS CORNER, SC (AP) - Santee Cooper is taking public comment on its plans to raise its electric rates.

The state-owned utility is hearing from the public during a hearing at its Conway office on Thursday. There's a session Friday in Litchfield and hearings next week in Moncks Corner, North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach.

The company has proposed a 3.5% rate increase to take effect on Dec. 1. Another 3.5% increase would follow on Dec. 1, 2013.

The utility says the increases are needed to help cover the cost of a new nuclear reactor at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station and to meet the costs of new environmental regulations. The company has not increased its rates since November 2009.

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