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Record low temperatures cause record high power bills

Article was added on Friday, January 31, 2014

January's record low temperatures will cause power bills to hit record highs. Members need to be conscious of their energy use as the temperatures drop to record lows.

A residential household's kilowatt-hour use is largely weather-driven, Jay Kirby, a home energy auditor for Santee Electric Cooperative, reminds members as winter temperatures drop.

"Freezing temperatures make heating systems work harder and operate longer," Kirby says. "Water flowing into water heaters is colder and, therefore, requires added energy to warm it up and then maintain that warmth."

A home with the thermostat set to 68 degrees will burn half the electricity the same size home uses with the thermostat set at 78 degrees, he said. And for every degree higher your thermostat is set, you're adding five percent or more in heating costs to your electric bill.

"Along with the cold weather, the extra hours of darkness tend to keep families inside more, which presents additional opportunities to use electricity. Ultimately, heating and cooling represent about 50 percent of a typical home's energy use," he adds.

We can't do anything about the weather, Kirby notes, but members can take charge of their energy use and lower their bills. You can find money-saving ideas in our free brochure, "101 Low-Cost/No-Cost Home Energy-Saving Measures for South Carolina." Stop by any Santee Electric office to pick up a copy.

Santee Electric Cooperative gives area community action agencies money every three months to be distributed to members in need of assistance. Members should contact their local community action agency to apply for this assistance.

In Florence County, Pee Dee Community Action Agency can be reached at 843-394-7440.

In Clarendon County, Wateree Community Actions, Inc. can be reached at 803-432-3411.

In Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties, the Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. can be reached at 843-546-6161 or 843-355-9922.


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