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Where Do You Get Your Energy?


February 21, 2018   By Susan Mungo in Energy Matters

Santee Cooper strives to provide its customers with reliable, affordable electric power.

I’ve heard a lot lately about how living in the great state of South Carolina means you have higher energy bills than most other states. I beg to differ.

The fact is, as a Santee Cooper customer, what I pay per kilowatt-hour of electricity is lower than most.

So where are those stories or facts coming from? Are energy and electricity bills the same thing? That is actually kind of like comparing apples to oranges. Here in the South, most (64 percent) of us have all- electric homes.

That probably means our energy bill and our electricity bill is close to being interchangeable. But if you use natural gas at home for anything, the cost for gas should be added to the overall “energy bill.”

In other parts of the country, as much as 82 percent of the population use another fuel source to heat or cool their home. They also often use gas to cook with or keep their water heater running.  That means they are not using electricity for some of the biggest consumers of energy. Their energy usage may be the same as someone in an all-electric home, but their actual electric bill will look much different.

In other words, if you live in an all-electric home, all of your total energy costs will be from the use of electricity. For those who use electricity and also have natural gas, their total energy costs would include both gas and electricity.

However, that’s not how people are talking about it. They’re talking about electric costs, not total energy costs. And that’s causing some confusion.

Comparing usage across states is difficult. It is even hard to compare your usage to your neighbors.  The size of your home, your usage habits, and even the age and shape of your home can make a real difference in how much energy or electricity it takes to keep you comfortable. But, the price per unit used, sort of like the price per gallon of gasoline, is easy to compare.  That is where we South Carolinians come out on top.

As a Santee Cooper residential customer, I am lucky enough to have a cost per kWh that is below the national average---and Santee Cooper’s rates across all customer classes are second lowest in the state. Santee Cooper cannot control how much of the energy I use, but they do work to keep the rates per kWh as low as possible.