News 12 at 6 o'clock; October 31, 2008
AIKEN CTY, S.C. --- It can be a struggle to pay all the bills these days and things could be getting even tougher for SCE&G customers. News 12 is On Your Side with ways that you can keep your costs down.
It's the first time ever that SCE&G asked for a rate hike in the middle of the year. For 85-year-old Annie Mae Glover, this is one more expense for a woman living on a fixed income.
Annie Mae tries to keep the stove turned off and keep the TV on less. It's two things she's going to keep a closer eye on because of the 6% increase coming this month for SCE&G customers.
"It's absolutely too high the way it is and with it going up, it's going to be rough for me," says Annie Mae. It's especially rough because of all the other bills she pays. "When it's just one person running a single house, it's a struggle."
Right now, Annie Mae pays $72 a month on electricity. Soon, that bill is going to go up about $4.
"I have to turn the heat down a little bit,"Annie Mae says. That's one way to keep things in check. "When the weather is like this, I sit outside."
"We're suffering enough already," says Rev. AC Settles. His bill right now is somewhere around $230 a month. With the increase, he'll see a bill around $14 more. So now, he's making changes too. "Check for leaks around the doors," he says. That way, the warm air stays inside and the cool air stays out.
Two customers -- out of thousands -- and all of them are facing a lighter pocket. "We have to cut back on all of this. That's the only way we're going to make it. That's the only way we're going to make it," says Rev. Settles.
Of course, with the increase in prices, people are worried they can't pay the bills and the electricity will be shut off. In South Carolina, it all depends on the temperature. If you are having trouble making your bill payments, call customer service with SCE&G.
In Georgia, you won't be disconnected if the temperature is expected to be 32 degrees or lower withing 24 hours after your electric would be disconnected. It stays that way until the temperature rises.
SCE&G says the reason for the hike is due to fuel costs to run the power plants. Originally, they asked for another rate hike set to take place in January 2009 at 6%, but that rate was taken off the table thanks to the drop in fuel prices. They say the hike is solely used to help offset the fuel cost increases.