The City of Goose Creek is considering entering the electric business

Berkeley County News

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Goose Creek is considering entering the electric business. That’s one item on the agenda for Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

The city wants to create a municipal electric utility to serve areas annexed into the city.

According to the project’s proposal, Century Aluminum which is located right outside of city limits says the high costs of power threatens the future of the company.

Century Aluminum buys 75% of its power on the open market and the remaining 25% from Santee Cooper. The power Century Aluminum purchases from Santee Cooper is almost double the cost compared to what is purchased on the open market. Century Aluminum informed the City of Goose Creek that due to such high power costs, in December 2015, Century Aluminum shuttered half of the facility’s operations.

Following these discussions, Goose Creek started to consider creating their own municipal electric utility to serve areas annexed into the city. This includes about 5-thousand acres including Century Aluminum’s smelter site, as well as an undeveloped part of an industrial park also owned by Century Aluminum.

If this plan is approved, Century Aluminum would pay the city property taxes and a business license fee.

The proposal says, “Based on Centruy Aluminum’s assets and gross revenues, these tax streams represent large revenue opportunities for the city. In addition, to the extent other industrial customers locate in the Annexed Area, these new businesses would also pay city property taxes and a city business license fee. “

Right now, city officials are talking with lawyers and consultants about creating a Goose Creek utility.

“Based on the advice of its consultants, the City, subject to the successful results of a utility referendum voted on by residents of the City, believes that a new municipal electric utility is both legally permissible and financially viable.”

Goose Creek’s electric utility would purchase power on the open market through a bidding process.

According to the project’s proposal, “It would enter into a binding purchased power utility agreement with Century Aluminum for an agreed-upon amount of time to purchase the electricity. The rate paid by Century Aluminum is anticipated to cover the cost of the purchased power plus all overhead, maintenance, capital, transmission and other expenses incurred by the City.”

Century Aluminum shared with city officials that lower power costs would allow for the company to reinvest in the facility and reopen the shuttered portion of its plant.

The next step is for City Council to discuss whether or not to authorize this referendum at their meeting Tuesday night.

If City Council and adopts the proposal with subsequent approval by the County Election Commission, citizens will then have the chance to vote in an anticipated election dated for December 3, 2019.

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