A good question came up recently on York Electric’s Facebook page: Where does YEC get the power it distributes to members?
A member queried us in late February, on a day when we had approximately 500 members without electricity due to a Duke Energy transmission problem. As we told our followers on Facebook—which, by the way, is a great way to communicate with members in real time—we worked with Duke Energy to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Some members thought that YEC only purchases power from Duke Energy. We actually have a long-standing relationship with the investor-owned power company, as well as another power provider, the state-owned utility Santee Cooper.
The South Carolina Public Service Authority, as Santee Cooper is formally known, is now our chief power provider. YEC and the other 19 independent, consumer-owned distribution co-ops in South Carolina constitute Santee Cooper’s largest customer. The 20 distribution co-ops co-own a power supply aggregator, Central Electric Power Cooperative, headquartered in Columbia. Central has the wholesale supply contract with Santee Cooper, a long-term contract designed to hold down power costs and ensure we have reliable, affordable electricity for our members for the foreseeable future.
Through Central, the 20 co-ops also contract with Duke Energy to purchase approximately 25 percent of their power. Previously, before Santee Cooper was able to provide power to all of South Carolina, YEC and four other Upstate co-ops purchased most of our power from Duke. So, our ties to Duke’s system are long-standing.
No, YEC does not generate power. Never has. Our job for the last 74 years has been to distribute power to communities where other utilities could not reasonably serve and make a profit.
Up to the task
Today, South Carolina’s 20 electric co-ops serve more than 739,000 accounts in the state—more than 1.5 million citizens. As a group, co-ops serve more S.C. consumers than any other utility. No longer strictly rural, we serve homes, businesses and industries mostly in suburbs, small towns as well as rural areas.
Co-ops build and maintain three times the miles of power line of any other utility. Our distribution systems cover 70 percent of the state’s land area with more than 72,000 miles of power line. Co-ops offset the expense of maintaining their systems by operating on a not-for-profit, costof- service basis. Savings gained by eliminating profits are passed on to members in the form of capital credits.
If that seems like a complicated answer to a simple question, please understand that the job of delivering electricity to almost 49,000 accounts over 3,600 miles of line is, by its nature, a complex task. We have consistently proven we’re up to the job for almost 75 years. We look forward to another 75.
President and Chief Executive Officer
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