More news from the world of cheap coal:

Santee Cooper said Wednesday that the first phase of its proposed Pee Dee coal-fired power plant [in Florence County, South Carolina] will cost $1.25 billion, up from its original estimate of $998 million.

Even that may be under-stating it:

Blan Holman, a lawyer for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said Santee Cooper’s $1.25 billion price tag is “still a lowball” that “doesn’t even include the big rise in coal prices or the Hindenburg-sized” costs that could come with proposed new taxes on carbon emissions.

Who’s going to be saddled with these large-and-rising costs for the next 50 years?

Ratepayers will pay for the increase, [Laura Varn, Santee Cooper’s vice president of corporate communications] said, though it’s too soon to say how much it might add to people’s power bills.

In response to this news, Varn said placidly, “Coal is still the most abundant and cost-effective fuel source.”

South Carolina ratepayers must find her words a great comfort.