CEO Message from the February 2018 edition of South Carolina Living Magazine.
WHEN BITTER COLD HITS, energy bills jump. Horry Electric’s rates didn’t increase during the cold snaps we saw in January, but bills for energy use increased significantly. Members repeatedly told us they hadn’t changed their thermostats and questioned how on earth their electric bill could have possibly doubled.
As our service representatives and energy advisors explained to everyone, the increases we all saw were due to the extra amount of electricity it takes to keep the inside of a home at the temperature set on the thermostat when the outdoor temperatures are so severe. We actually set a new peak demand record on the morning of January 5 and then broke that record on January 7. The previous record of 405 megawatts (MW) was set in February of 2015. Our new record set on January 7 is 430 MW.
Here’s how it happened
The amount of energy used by furnaces, heat pumps or baseboard heaters is directly related to how long they run. Because they are connected to a thermostat, they run when the temperature drops below the thermostat set point in your home.
When the outside temperature is colder than normal, more heat is lost through the ceiling, walls, floors and openings such as windows and doors. The thermostat senses the extra heat loss and operates the furnace more often to keep up with the heat loss. The longer the unit operates, the higher the energy consumption, which results in higher electric bills.
A spike of higher consumption for a week or more due to colder weather significantly increases your total bill. We’ve been through more than one extended cold snap since Christmas and bills are going to be high.
Alerts can help members save!
Members on the Advance Pay program were very aware of how much their daily energy use was impacted by the colder temperatures. As part of the program, they receive daily updates on how much energy they use. Getting an energy alert is available to everyone on the Horry Electric system. If you have online access, you can sign up yourself through MyEnergy Online, our member service portal. If you don’t have access, one of our service representatives will be glad to set your account up for alerts delivered via text, voicemail and/or email. Getting daily alerts will help you become more aware of your daily use, and, if you take action to make changes to reduce your energy use, it could help
you avoid the shock of an extremely high bill!