The past week in the Charleston economy

South Carolina Electric & Gas executive Keller Kissam announced plans to reduce power rates by 3.5 percent. AP/Meg Kinnard

Hoping to appease seething customers and lawmakers, South Carolina Electric & Gas offered to cut power bills and make other concessions. Keller Kissam, the utility’s president of retail operations, announced plans to seek a 3.5 percent rate reduction, saying it would save customers $450 million over five years. Also, he said, shareholders will be responsible for the net construction costs remaining from the scuttled V.C. Summer project, taking lower earnings payouts over the next 50 years.

The project was halted by SCE&G and co-investor Santee Cooper in July after they spent more than $9 billion on it.

Home sales update

Charleston-area home sales bounced back slightly...

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South Carolina church uses Bible and prayer to help faithful fight opioid addiction

South Carolina church battles opioid addiction with prayer

A South Carolina church is waging its own war on the opioid crisis – with the power of prayer.

First Baptist of Lexington’s Celebrate Recovery Program has helped people overcome their devastating addiction, not by using other drugs or through detox. At the program, the addicts fight their demons by finding God.

“I’ve tried many ways myself to get clean but it was not until I asked God to help me…. I was in detox and I asked God either let me die right now or help me live a life free of drugs and that was when I got clean,” Bobby Brazell told Fox News.

Brazell began using drugs 20 years ago after a two of his high school friends died in a car a crash.

“I didn’t want to feel anything, so I started taking pills, drinking a lot, taking...

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Have Charleston-area homes sales peaked?

Charles McIntosh, a Realtor with The Cassina Group, places a sign in the yard of a newly listed home for sale on Gordon Street in Wagner Terrace in Charleston. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Charleston-area home sales skidded with the onset of autumn, but a regional economist and local real estate agents believe the market hasn’t topped out.

"I don’t think it has peaked," said Mark Vitner, senior economist for Wells Fargo in Charlotte. "It’s leveled off more than peaked."

Affecting sales more than anything are a lack of homes on the market and rising prices, he said.

"We are running into some supply issues," Vitner said. "And because there aren’t a lot of homes for sale, we are seeing an increase in prices. Affordability has caused a pause in home sales."

Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells...

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Charleston, SC Real Estate: Newly Listed Homes for Sale

The houses for sale in and around Charleston are just a small portion of more than 4 million homes sold in South Carolina. and across the United States every year. We’re not just talking listed homes for sale, either. We’re talking about homes for sale — that sell.

Looking for a home to buy? Or do you just like looking at what homes are on the market? Either way, here are the latest homes for sale in and around Charleston listed by our partners at realtor.com.

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Charleston Harbor deepening is largest dredging contract in Army Corps history

Cranes move cargo to and from the OOCL France — part of the larger, neo-Panamax class of ships traveling through the expanded Panama Canal — during its visit in June to Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant. The State Ports Authority is dredging Charleston Harbor to 52 feet so the vessels can visit without tide restrictions. File/Provided/State Ports Authority

A key part of the plan to dredge Charleston Harbor to 52 feet received the go-ahead Monday with the announcement of the most expensive contract in the history of the Army Corps of Engineers — a $213 million deal to help make the waterway the deepest on the East Coast and more accessible to supersized cargo ships visiting the Port of Charleston.

"We look forward to seeing dredges in our harbor in the next few months," said Jim Newso...

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Charleston’s use of federal grants to raze flood-prone properties part of a national trend

The Bridge Pointe neighborhood in Shadowmoss flooded during Tropical Storm Irma. Three homes in the neighborhood will be bought out with a FEMA grant. File/Brad Nettles/Staff

The federal government is awarding the city of Charleston more than $10 million in grants to help buy 48 flood-prone properties in West Ashley — a bargain given what it would cost to keep repairing them after every major flood.

With more frequent storms and a National Flood Insurance Program about $25 billion in debt, these grants help the federal government cut its losses on properties that simply aren’t worth saving again and again. For the homeowners, it offers an escape that likely wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

"It’s such a relief that the residents are going to be able to get out of these homes because they’re ...

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Coaches: Trump should invite South Carolina to White House

Vanderbilt coach Stephanie White says it is a "slap in the face" to the Gamecocks that South Carolina still is waiting for an invitation to the White House as the national women’s basketball champions.

Texas A&M coach Gary Blair took it a step further: He suggests President Donald Trump call coach Dawn Staley personally and ask her to visit.

"She deserves that honor and her team. But more importantly, the country needs to see a women’s basketball team in the White House being recognized. That’s something that they’ve earned," said Blair, who visited the White House after his Aggies won the 2011 national title.

Blair said he understands it’s been busy with hurricanes and the shooting in Las Vegas. He also suggested congressmen from South Carolina help out the Gamecocks...

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South Carolina vs. Tennessee 2017: Five observations from Saturday’s 15-9 win

Will Muschamp continues to own Tennessee

So many times the result of a Tennessee football game have left Gamecock fans battered, depressed and confused.

Whether it be South Carolina losing Marcus Lattimore forever against Tennessee in 2012, having their SEC title hopes washed away in 2013 on a miracle catch or missing game-tying field goals in 2007 and 2014 — the Vols have long been a thorn in the side of the Gamecocks since their SEC inception in 1992.

Saturday was not one of those days.

South Carolina shut out Tennessee in the second half to crawl ahead 15-9 and outlast the Vols with three plays at the two yard line to seal the win. Now 5-2, South Carolina is sitting in a nice position to top the previous season’s 6-7 record.

Funny how Tennessee might prove to be the pivotal swing game i...

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Charleston becomes Clemson’s first 2019 commitment

Joseph Charleston (Photo by: Chad Simmons)

For months, 2019 Rivals 250 safety

Joseph Charleston

had Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt his top five schools.

Since the 2017 college football season kicked off, the 6-foot-2, 190 pound junior out of Milton (Ga.) has visited Clemson for three games. On Monday night, he decided he was ready to be a Tiger.

He became Clemson’s first commitment in the 2019 class.

"I have committed to Clemson," said Charleston. "I like everything about Clemson. I love the coaches, I love the family aspect of it and I love how they rotate players. Their defense is amazing too."

Charletson called Mickey Conn first, then delivered the news Dabo Swinney. Both coaches were excited to hear the news. It was actually like icing on the cake for one.

"I didn’...

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Columbia, Charleston or Greenville: Who should be named South’s Best 2018?

Southern Living Magazine, “the insiders’ guide to Southern culture,” is asking readers to vote for the South’s Best 2018 list.

Surprise! Columbia and three Columbia area restaurants have made it on the ballot.

Each ballot is broken down by category — by state, city, small town, and restaurant for example — and you are able to choose and rate the place according to friendliness, experience, etc.

Columbia is in competition with Charleston (naturally, the Holy City was this year’s winner), Greenville, Rock Hill and Summerville for the best city in South Carolina; while Aiken, Beaufort (this year’s winner), Bluffton, Clemson (!), Edgefield, Georgetown, McClellanville, Monetta and Spartanburg can battle it out for best small town.

Although Charleston eateries dominate on the Best Restaurant in ...

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