SC residents pay highest electric bills in nation, report says

WBTW Staff - (WBTW)--South Carolina residents pay the highest electric bills in the country, according to a new federal report.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, people in South Carolina paid an average of $1,753 for electricity last year, which is about $400 higher than the national average. "I don't know why it's so high. I really don't," said Patrick Shelley. The New York-native splits his time between Myrtle Beach and Long Island. Though his condo off River Oaks Drive is a nice retreat from the big city, "the electric is half what it is here," he said. "I almost pay the bills without looking at them. Then I said, wait a minute, this is a one month bill and at home it's a two month bill."

The EIA report shows more than 60 percent of homes in the South solely use electricity, and no other sources of energy. That's compared to 16% of homes in the Northeast and 22 percent in the Midwest that do the same. Santee Cooper spokesperson Susan Mungo said, "We cook, we heat, we cool, we even keep our water heaters energized with electricity. That is not the case across the nation."

Mungo says the high electric bills are a reflection of energy usage, not rates. "In South Carolina, you may turn your air conditioning as early as March, and may not turn off till October. The same with heating in the winter. This past January we had record-breaking cold," she said.

Some tips Santee Cooper recommends to keep your electric bill down include unplugging electronics when you're not using them since many still use power when they're turned "off", and setting your water heater thermostat to 120 to help it run more efficiently. The utility also recommends using your ceiling fan during the winter, by reversing the blades and running them at a low speed so that they pull cold air up and push warm air down through the room. Mungo added, "If you have a door that goes into an attic space, that is often where drafts come and go in the summer or winter time. Just blocking that can make a huge difference."

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