SCE&G customers felt their blood run cold when they saw what our extreme winter weather did to their heating bills this month.
Margo Schofield says she is a real watt watcher. She watches her electricity usage like a hawk, but she says her most recent bill blindsided her.
"This most recent bill knocked me down on the floor." Schofield said Wednesday.
Schofield’s January bill for her 1900 sq. ft. home, with two rooms closed off, came in at $609.54. She called SCE&G for help. They escalated the call to SCANA.
“I talked to a lady from SCANA, and she was like, 'Well, you know, there has to be something at your house, we have to figure out what this is,'” says Schofield.
Schofield says she had an SCE&G energy specialist come to the house, and they found minimal repairs that needed to be made, Schofield says.
So why are bills so high this month? Is it really as simple as the extreme cold the first week of the month?
SCE&G says yes. That bitter cold the first week of January was too cold for Lowcountry heating systems.
“Heat pumps are efficient up to around 50 degrees," says Paul Fischer with SCE&G. "When that temperature gets ... into the 20s or even the teens like we have seen, those heat pumps are forced to work on something called auxiliary heat. Once that auxiliary heat begins working, it can really increase that usage exponentially, which of course is going to create a higher bill."
When asked if SCE&G investigates the possibility of mistakes on their part with floods of complaints about ultra-high bills, Fischer touted the company's payment plans.
“The important thing to remember is we have a number of payment options that we can work through with the customer, so even if there is a due date, it's important to walk through what options they have to pay that bill," says Fischer.
Before Schofield paid her bill she called the South Carolina Regulatory Commission. It's charged with representing the public interest of South Carolina in utility regulation.
The commission told her in a voicemail, they will check her meter in the next 2 weeks.