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Old 01-14-2010, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Pelion, South Carolina/orig. from Cape May, NJ
1,115 posts, read 2,215,521 times
Reputation: 1087

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I live in Lexington county, and moved here from NJ a year ago.
So far I like SC, however I don't like the high light bills. I just got mine (from MCEC) and it went from $150 to $357!! That's crazy. I complained but of course got the brush-off about it being cold, blah, blah, blah. Well, it's a hell of a lot colder in NJ and I NEVER had a $400 light bill. Who the hell can afford to pay bills like that??
When I was in NJ, the state offered heating assistance to those who qualified. I would receive a $100 credit on my electric bill each month. I also received a $555 credit towards my gas bill. Why doesn't SC offer such assistance? With the high unemployment rate, how can anyone afford to pay a $400 light bill??
My question is, where can someone in Lexington county go for help with their light bill? Everyplace I've tried-Aiken/Barnwell, LICS, Salvation Army, etc. either are not taking any more appointments, they are out of funds, or you call and get a constant busy signal (LICS).
Is there such a thing as heating assistance in SC? A customer service rep at MCEC told me some customers get a credit each month on their light bill through DSS. I called DSS and everyone I spoke to said they don't offer such a program.
Does anyone have any suggestions? We are planning on moving back to NJ and this is one of the reasons: lack of help from the state of SC for low-income people.
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
7,012 posts, read 11,009,215 times
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Don't know of any. Our cost of living is a heck of lot lower than most other places.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
4,948 posts, read 8,407,650 times
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My bill was high, also - $381. I'm adding more insulation under the house this week. There is a charity called the Woodyard Fund, which has been around in Columbia for close to 200 years from what I understand. They give assistance with utility bills for needy people. They are a United Way Agency so I'm sure their info is on the United Way of the Midlands website.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:52 AM
Status: "OK, winter can end any day now! ;)" (set 15 hours ago)
 
Location: Back in Defo....WI
3,203 posts, read 4,111,268 times
Reputation: 1535
this is our first full winter here, and i am expecting this next elec bill to be much higher then normal; watching the thermostat for the heat pump glow green quite often ( i am assuming then that the "coils" were turned on to help heat with the outside temp in teens ). So i'm sure it's gonna be high. But in the past 11 months, we have not had any utility bills as high as we had in WI. In summer it's been lower even though ac is on more ( plus we work from home so it's on more during day ), and with no gas furnace we aren't getting gas bills in the hundreds in 'winter'.

So all things considered, a big spike one month will be tolerated, when we take the whole year into consideration, as well as the overall costs here compared to WI. Doesn't mean we'll be happy, but it is what it is.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:23 PM
 
843 posts, read 1,733,267 times
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How are y'all spending so much on electricity? Do you have 6000sqft houses? Do you leave 13 tvs running all day & night? I thought my bill was excessively high at $160 (and I'm all electric, no gas)...

*Edit - And since we're doing comparisons, prior to moving to Sumter my electric bills averaged $60-80/mo
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:31 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,400 posts, read 4,889,386 times
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I second him ^. We have gas heating and our bill isnt anywhere near that high. And, SC "doesnt offer such assistance" because unlike NJ, many people here dont want to pay taxes for something that is someone else's problem, which is what would happen if the state had such "programs". Charities take care of that...and from the one's Ive seen, the elderly are favored by far when getting such assistance.

Im curious as to why you think the state should help take care of YOUR light/heat/any bill.

This state is full of "low income people"..Im one of them. Yet somehow we manage anyway. Strange huh?
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
1,858 posts, read 3,036,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceezer View Post
How are y'all spending so much on electricity? Do you have 6000sqft houses? Do you leave 13 tvs running all day & night? I thought my bill was excessively high at $160 (and I'm all electric, no gas)...
I agree, my electric & gas bill was $130 this past month for our 1500+ square foot house. I think a lot of it is just people being careless as you say ceezer and leaving all the lights on, tvs running, temp. @72 round-the-clock, etc. When we leave for an extended period of time, temp goes down to 62 in the winter, even when we're home, keep it around 68-69, and like this weekend, I won't have the furnace on at all w/temps during the day into the 60s - especially if it's sunny - as I'll just use a small heater at night if it gets to chilly in our bedroom. In the summer, it's the opposite, when we leave, we'll put it at 78-80, and while we're home, 74-76.

I noticed walking our dogs through our neighborhood late into October and into November on some of the nicer 70 or so degree days when we hadn't ran our air conditioning for weeks and were just fine w/the windows open, yet seemingly every other house or so had their air conditioner running non-stop!

As to your question jerseygirl, I have only heard what waccamatt mentioned in the woodyard fund (there is an article I think every Monday in the paper about somebody who has been helped by it). Ohio has government programs too that help people called HEAP - basically for low or no-income folks and it essentially pays your entire bill or at least like 90% of it - & PIPP - which is a program based on some formula where they calculate an acceptable % in relation to your income for you to pay each month; but I don't know (nor have heard) of any programs like those in South Carolina.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Pelion, South Carolina/orig. from Cape May, NJ
1,115 posts, read 2,215,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colddiamond102 View Post
I second him ^. We have gas heating and our bill isnt anywhere near that high. And, SC "doesnt offer such assistance" because unlike NJ, many people here dont want to pay taxes for something that is someone else's problem, which is what would happen if the state had such "programs". Charities take care of that...and from the one's Ive seen, the elderly are favored by far when getting such assistance.

Im curious as to why you think the state should help take care of YOUR light/heat/any bill.

This state is full of "low income people"..Im one of them. Yet somehow we manage anyway. Strange huh?

Well, you tell me how to manage on a monthly income of $1300 paying $400 light bills, and I'll do it.
I don't think anyone "should" help pay my bill, but it sure would be nice to have the help if you need it. SC doesn't offer much of anything as far as services go--utility bill help, for the disabled, it goes on and on. My disabled daughter got lots of services in NJ...here? Forget it.
I would rather pay higher taxes and get the services than pay lower taxes and get squat. That is one reason why we're moving back to NJ.
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Pelion, South Carolina/orig. from Cape May, NJ
1,115 posts, read 2,215,521 times
Reputation: 1087
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceezer View Post
How are y'all spending so much on electricity? Do you have 6000sqft houses? Do you leave 13 tvs running all day & night? I thought my bill was excessively high at $160 (and I'm all electric, no gas)...

*Edit - And since we're doing comparisons, prior to moving to Sumter my electric bills averaged $60-80/mo
No, I keep my thermostat on 68 degrees no matter how cold it is outside. I only have 2 small lamps in my living room, and one tv that is hardly on. I have a 1,200 sq. ft. double wide that is all electric. It's the heater that drives up the bill.
I turned off the heater and bought a kerosene heater. I'd rather pay for kerosene than a $400 light bill, and the kero heater keeps my house warmer!
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:57 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,400 posts, read 4,889,386 times
Reputation: 2731
Quote:
Originally Posted by jersgrl1969 View Post
Well, you tell me how to manage on a monthly income of $1300 paying $400 light bills, and I'll do it.
I don't think anyone "should" help pay my bill, but it sure would be nice to have the help if you need it. SC doesn't offer much of anything as far as services go--utility bill help, for the disabled, it goes on and on. My disabled daughter got lots of services in NJ...here? Forget it.
I would rather pay higher taxes and get the services than pay lower taxes and get squat. That is one reason why we're moving back to NJ.
Knocking down your grocery bill might help...its possible to get $100 worth of groceries for $50 if you know how. Coupons combined with sales are lovely, lovely things.

Secondly, trailers in general arent often well insulated, even the newer models. That could be part of your problem in the heating department as well. We used to live in a old, old singlewide thing that might as well have been a tin can. With a $400 bill you might just have a draft somewhere.Go over your windows and doors one by one to see where warm air may be escaping. Then, if you find any, pick up some cheap weather stripping at the hardware store and cover it. Places with less insulation (like a kitchen) might benefit from small, easy to clean rugs on the floor to help hold in heat.Small space heaters tend to heat well and burn less electricity, and dont need to be kept running constantly if you arent using a room.
Blankets, thick fuzzy socks, hot drinks and warm pajamas help alot too.

Also, since Pelion IS, well, no offense, kind of a Podunk place to begin with, the distance from your electric company to your house might (I could very well be wrong here, just speculating) have something to do with it as well. I remember when we lived way out in the country our bills were a bit higher energy wise.
My household is managed on (after taxes) less than $1300 a month, with no help from anybody aside from my mother and myself. Add two large dogs (that also make very good heaters..) into the mix that like to eat also, and finances get even more interesting at times.
It just takes a bit of creativity sometimes to get through, but it can be done

Didnt you research the services available here in SC before you moved? I really hope you didnt just assume it would be like NJ.
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