Empower Home


Get Empowered – Get Rewarded!

Coming in early 2022, our new Empower SmartRewards program will give you the power to earn money by temporarily reducing the use of energy-intensive systems in your home. SmartRewards is a demand response program that enables us to partner with you – our customers – to maintain reliability during periods of high demand or system constraints, manage electricity costs, and reduce carbon emissions.


What is Demand Response?

Electricity demand is how much electricity is being used at any given moment in time. The more electricity people are using at any moment, the higher the demand. Demand response programs help electric companies shift customers’ electric usage from times of high demand to times when demand is lower. This reduces the need to run higher-cost, peaking-unit generators and helps prevent system outages.


How Will This Program Work?

SmartRewards is a voluntary program that offers bill credits to customers who allow the installation of a small device (switch) near their home's heating and cooling system and/or electric water heater. During periods of peak demand or system constraints, we will activate the switch and cycle the equipment periodically off and on for short durations during a period of no more than four hours to temporarily reduce demand.


What are the Rewards?

When you enroll in the program and have a switch installed in your home, you can receive up to $100 in bill credits for the first year and up to $50 for each additional year you participate. You will have a few options for participation, which will determine the amount of your rewards.

Electric Water Heater
  • $20 bill credit after enrollment and switch installation
  • $15 annual bill credit
Heating and Cooling Systems
  • $30 bill credit after enrollment and switch installation
  • $25 annual bill credit

COMBINED: Electric Water Heater AND Heating and Cooling Systems

  • $50 bill credit after enrollment and switch installation
  • $50 annual bill credit

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Once you sign up, a small device (switch) will be installed on or near your central heating and cooling systems and/or electric water heater, depending on your program choices.

2. After the switch is installed, you will earn:

    • A one-time enrollment credit on your bill.
    • An annual credit on your bill every year you participate in the program.

      3. An “event” occurs when demand for electricity is particularly high or there is a system constraint. Empower SmartRewards participants will help us temporarily reduce energy usage, so we can continue to provide high reliable power.

      During an event, Santee Cooper will cycle your heating and cooling systems and/or electric water heater off and on for brief intervals. Temperature changes should be minimal for most participants.

      Santee Cooper residential customers can participate if they have central heating and cooling systems and/or electric water heaters in acceptable working condition. Participants must also be current on their bill. Prepay program customers cannot participate at this time. Additional equipment eligibility requirements may apply.

      Electricity is flowing constantly to supply power to our homes and businesses. The demand for this electricity is defined by how much is being used by all customers at any given moment in time. The more electricity people are using at any given moment, the higher the demand. High demand typically occurs on the hottest days in the summer and the coldest days in the winter.

      An event could occur when there’s a particularly high demand for electricity or if there are major issues with the electric system that could affect the production, transmission and/or distribution of power. During an event, your heating and cooling system and/or your electric water heater will cycle on and off for brief intervals and return to normal operation when the event has ended. Events are expected to last no more than four hours.

      Events can occur during the following times:

      • Summer Season: June 1 through Sept. 30 between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
      • Winter Season: Dec. 1 through March 31 between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

      Events will only occur on weekdays, not on weekends or the following holidays*:

      • New Year’s Day
      • Independence Day
      • Labor Day
      • Christmas Day

      *If there’s a system emergency, Santee Cooper may, at its discretion, expand events beyond the parameters listed.

      The SmartRewards switch has indicator lights that will show if an event is occurring. You'll see four lights on your switch. If the first light is solid and any others are blinking, there's an event taking place.

      You can also call our SmartRewards event hotline at 843-448-3329.

      Yes, we understand life happens and you may need to opt out of an event occasionally. You will continue to earn your bill credits unless you opt out of more than two events per season. The seasons are as follows:

      • Summer Season: June 1 through Sept. 30 between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
      • Winter Season: Dec. 1 through March 31 between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

      You can opt out by calling 833-493-1038.

      For your participation, Santee Cooper offers participants rewards in the form of bill credits. Also, thanks to your participation, Santee Cooper can prioritize clean generation, keep your power reliable, and keep costs low.

      To kick off your participation, you’ll receive an enrollment reward in the form of a bill credit after your switch is installed. You’ll also receive a bill credit annually on the anniversary of when your switch was installed. Your bill credits will appear on your bill within one to two billing cycles, and you will continue to earn your bill credits unless you opt out of more than two events per season or you unenroll from the program.

      Eligible customers can participate in one of the following:

      • Electric water heater only
        • $20 bill credit after enrollment and switch installation
        • $15 annual bill credit
      • Heating and cooling systems only
        • $30 bill credit after enrollment and switch installation
        • $25 annual bill credit
      • COMBINED: Electric water heater AND heating and cooling systems
        • $50 bill credit after enrollment and switch installation
        • $50 annual bill credit

      Existing hot water in your tank will be available for use. The amount of hot water that remains in the tank will be determined by the size of your tank and the amount of hot water you use during the event. At the conclusion of the event, your water heater will return to normal operations.

      No, your heating and air conditioning will not be turned off for the entire event. Instead, your system will be cycled on and off for brief intervals to minimize the temperature change in your home and keep you comfortable.

      During an event, temperature changes should be minimal for most participants. These changes may vary based on insulation levels of your home and the size of your heating and cooling systems. At the conclusion of the event, your system will return to normal operations.

      There is a one-year commitment, and you are automatically re-enrolled every year.

      We will automatically deactivate your switch when you discontinue or transfer your electric service.

      If you remain a Santee Cooper customer after you move, you can re-enroll in the program at your new home. Please call us at 833-493-1038 to schedule an appointment for installation.

      No. However, we recommend you adjust your thermostats accordingly, since no one will be home. Click here for more energy-saving tips.

      No, the SmartRewards switch is safe, proven technology that will not damage your heating and cooling systems or your water heater.

      Your system will use the same amount of energy as it normally would. The cycling will simply shift some of your usage to a different time of day.

      Participating in the SmartRewards program will shift some of your usage away from periods of high demand or help with system constraints.

      In order to participate in the SmartRewards program, you must have an electric heating and cooling system and/or an electric water heater. Gas equipment is not eligible.

      Yes, an adult over the age of 18 must be present during the switch installation.

      The switch installation takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours to complete.

      Please call 833-493-1038 to have the switch removed before your equipment is replaced. Once your new equipment is connected, you can call us back to have the switch reinstalled at no charge to you.

      Yes, you can participate in the program as long as you have your landlord’s permission. Your landlord must sign a Landlord Consent Form before enrolling.

      The home should be occupied during the summer and winter months to participate in the program.

      No. You must enroll all heating and cooling systems and/or all electric water heaters in the home to participate in the program.


      If you have additional questions, please call 833-493-1038 to speak to a representative.