SCE&G Offers a Number of Programs for Customers in Need of Assistance
Public Affairs

CAYCE, S.C. (January 26, 2010) – A string of extreme cold days and nights earlier this month and the end of December has meant some South Carolina Electric & Gas customers are coping with higher natural gas and electric bills than normal.

The company set a new record for winter peak demand on January 12 for electric use when customers consumed 4,720 megawatts, exceeding the previous winter record set in January 2008. Utility bills for the period of cold weather are just now beginning to arrive in customer’s mailboxes. Statistics indicate that roughly 50 percent of a customer’s utility bill goes toward heating and cooling a home.

“We realize that with the recent long spell of cold weather and the resulting increase in demand for electricity that we will have a number of customers who will find it a hardship to pay their bill,” said Molly Morris, general manager of Customer Service. “We offer a number of programs designed to provide options for customers to pay their bills. Customers who need special assistance, should contact an SCE&G customer service representative at 800-251-7234 or come into one of our business offices and talk with us.”

Morris said it isn’t unusual for customers who can’t afford to pay their entire bill to simply give up and not pay any portion of it. “Many customers who have not had to make payment arrangements aren’t aware we will be happy to work with them.”

SCE&G offers the following programs designed for a variety of customer needs:

Project Share: Through contributions to Project Share, SCE&G employees and customers provide assistance to low-income customers for utility bills. Since the program began in 1986, contributions of more than $7 million have helped more than 40,000 customers in towns and communities served by SCE&G. The Governor's Office's Division of Economic Opportunity, through community action agencies, administers all money donated to Project Share. Because there are no administrative costs, 100 percent of donations go to help those in need.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: South Carolina's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps people with their heating bills. The amount of assistance provided depends on the heating fuel used and the applicant's income. Since the program began in 1980, more than $61 million in assistance has gone to nearly 500,000 SCE&G customers. The Governor's Office's Division of Economic Opportunity, through Community action agencies, administers all LIHEAP funds.

Budget Billing: Customers can sign up for our Budget Billing program, which allows them to budget more accurately for monthly energy expenses. When signing up for Budget Billing, energy usage is estimated based on historical data from the previous 12 months at the residence (if available), and divided into 12 equal payments. Customers will then pay this equal amount each month. The amount is “trued-up” on an annual basis to reflect actual usage and costs. With Budget Billing, customers don’t pay less, but they always know what the payment will be.

Fixed Income Plan: Allows customers to choose the date their bill is due. This plan is for people on Social Security, civil service retirements or others who receive a check that comes around the 1st through the 3rd of the month. We may be able to move the due date to a date after the 3rd of the month.

Medical Certificate Plan: During the months of December through March, SCE&G will not disconnect a residential customer for a 30-day period when furnished with a medical certificate signed by a licensed physician. If disconnection of service would be dangerous to the customer or a member of their household, our customers should obtain the Medical Certificate form from a local SCE&G office, have it completed and signed by a licensed physician and return the form to us prior to disconnection.

Deferred Payment Plan: This plan allows a portion of the bill to be deferred and billed in equal installments on subsequent bills. The Deferred Payment Plan typically involves a down payment (earnest payment) which will help reduce the amount to be deferred. Customers may contact one of our customer service representatives about the details of the plan prior to disconnection.

A special Web page has also been added to that provides links to resources such as Budget Billing, Energy Analyzer, assistance programs and energy saving tips to assist customers.  

And for a list of community service agencies in your area, please visit:
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