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Working to improve quality of life 6-17

Working to improve quality of life 6-17

Article was added on Thursday, June 01, 2017

I would like to talk to you about economic development this month.  It's a passion of mine and something in which we excel here at Santee Electric Cooprative (SEC).

Economic development is simply improving the quality of life of an area by recruiting jobs and increasing salaries and the tax base.  When the economy is growing, employers seek new locations to expand and/or diversify their revenue sources.  We at SEC want them to bring those new locations to our territory.  Why is that?

From the standpoint of being a part of the communities we serve, we simply want to see our friends, family members, neighbors, schools and local businesses prosper.  You've all heard the phrase, "A rising tide lifts all ships."  Similarly, when a large employer comes into an area, more people prosper than just those who get jobs.  Local restaurants, home builders, merchants and numerous other businesses see secondary benefits as well.  Furthermore, the increase in the tax base means better roads and schools.

From the standpoint of being your member-owned cooperative, we appreciate these large employers because they tend to have high load factors.  High load factors bring the overall cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) that SEC pays for wholesale power down.  When our wholesale cost comes down, your retail cost comes down.

The electric cooperatives in South Carolina have a great organization that we work with to help recruit business in our area.  This organization, SC Power Team, has a very talented staff of economic development professionals who are well-trained in bringing employers from all over the world to South Carolina and have had a tremendous amount of success in the 4 counties that SEC serves.

I recently attended a conference for economic developers where we had an opportunity to hear Hartley Powell, Director of the South Carolina Department of Revenue, offer his thoughts on our common goals.  South Carolina has a tremendous amount to offer, but one area that Powell said we needed to improve is our supply of skilled labor.  Powell and I both agree that too few of our young people are pursuing those valuable technical degrees and certificates.  The vocational schools and technical colleges in our state offer a wonderful array of welding, electrician, machinist, plumbing and other technical career opportunities that are associated with much higher salaries than the average 4-year liberal arts degree.  With another school year starting in August, I encourage those who are still searching for the right direction to consider one of these programs.

Help keep our state financially strong and appealing to the employers that we would all like to see locate in the Palmetto State.  And know that your cooperative is doing all we can in this endeavor as well.

Enjoy your summer!

Robert G. Ardis III
President and Chief Executive 0fficer

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