February 5, 2021
by SIMON WILLIAMS | WPDE Staff
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — A lot of us could expect electric bills to go up in the colder months, but several Santee Cooper customers said theirs are much higher than normal.
A Facebook post has over 200 comments from customers along the Grand Strand all sharing their experience with a higher bill, even though their habits haven’t changed.
Venetia Kouzis was one of them, and she shared her bill with us.
It showed her bill went from $120 for November, to $265. “I’m a single mom, and I had to choose to pay electricity to keep on, or my rent. And my rent was late, because my electricity was too high,” she said.
She said her habits didn’t change between those months. She cooks, she does laundry, and she keeps her heat at 68 when she’s using it.
“I turn it on just say 9:30, 10:00 at night? And it would get turned off at 6:30 in the morning.”
She said her kids are at school all day and she’s at work, but now, she’s afraid to even turn it on.
“Literally, I don’t turn it on at night. I turn it on in the morning, when the kids go to school, for when they have to take showers.”
Still, her bill for January into February is already at $146. It showed her bill went up $12 in just one day on Feb. 4, even though the temperature outside was warmer than it’s been lately. She said she didn’t cook or do laundry that day.
“Even now, without using any heat, my electricity bill is still high. It’s ridiculous!” she said.
She’s been a Santee Cooper customer for 15 years and said she’s never had a bill this high. The closest she’s ever got was a couple of years ago in the summer when Myrtle Beach broke 100 degrees.
Still, this bill is higher than anything she’s paid all year.
“My highest electricity bill in July, was $190 and my AC stays on 68 and it doesn’t change and doesn’t go off.” She said that’s also with her kids being home all day because they’re not in school during the summer.
She wasn’t sure what to think at first, and when she saw the Facebook post she knew she wasn’t the only customer caught off guard.
“When I saw it I was like *gasps* I was surprised. And it’s not just one or two people, it’s a lot of people.”
We asked Santee Cooper if there’s any sort of energy price becoming more expensive, and a spokesperson for the company, Mollie Gore, said no.
“In fact, a few months ago just started a rate freeze, so we have not increased rates since 2017, and will not be doing so until at least 2024,” she said.
The company said higher bills could be due to your water heater being set too high, and you should have it at 120 degrees.
You may also need to replace a heat pump filer, which is causing your emergency heat to kick on, and making your bill higher.
Gore said if those aren’t it, there could be a bigger problem.
We can come out to see if there’s something else that works, some sort of equipment issue, or something like that,” she said.