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Discussion Topics Letter to Santee Cooper

Date:                 October 7, 2020

Subject:             Issues of Concern to HOAs in Outdoor Lighting Agreements with Santee Cooper

To:                     Geoffrey Penland, J.D. Director Government Affairs for Santee Cooper

As you requested, here are specific concerns voiced by HOA/POA members:

Many of the HOAs we have talked to see no viable options to reduce their streetlighting costs under the current Santee Cooper Outdoor Lighting policy.

The rental agreements entered into between Santee Cooper and Developers are inherited by HOAs when the Developer completes the project.  After Santee Cooper has recovered its investment, streetlight rental rates remain the same.  The purchase of poles and fixtures, plus the cost of installation, including meter stanchions, is cost prohibitive for most HOAs.  Also, the requirement of meters is viewed as a “cost shift” and will likely be more expensive than continuing to pay Santee Cooper’s rental fees.

Furthermore, conversion to LED fixtures increases the HOA overall streetlighting costs.  In addition to an installation fee, rental rates for LED fixtures are higher and the difference between the rental rate for an HPS fixture and that of a LED fixture is more than the energy savings realized with a LED fixture.  The HOAs believe this to be a disincentive to convert to LEDs at a time when we should be looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

We are encouraged by Santee Cooper’s recent announcement signaling a willingness to take a fresh look at existing arrangements.  Additionally though, we are concerned by some of the inflammatory rhetoric that has surfaced in the press regarding the relationship between HOAs and Santee Cooper.  On many topics, both regionally and nationally, constructive dialog is being drowned out by a caustic environment and accusatory statements.  In our pending conversations with your officials, we pledge to genuinely listen, to be respectful, professional, and candid.

We are convinced that arrangements fair to all concerned can be discovered and agreed to.  We represent only our two communities, not others with whom we dialog, but believe discussing our specific cases is an effective way to engage the primary issues and craft solutions applicable to the broader audience.

We look forward to our pending conversations!

Respectfully,

~ Douglas A. Decker, P.E. Member Heritage Plantation BOD
~ Bob Sweet, Chairman Streetlights Initiative, Plantation Lakes POA

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