Cold temperatures force some to find help to pay utility bills

MYRLTE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - This week marks the first real cold snap of the Fall season, which could signal a rise in heating costs for people across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee. Temperatures are expected to remain unseasonably cold for this time of year.

"Right now utility bills are in the normal range, but a month from now people will really see the increase after the cold we're having right now" said Lisa Buie of Myrtle Beach Helping Hand. That organization offers assistance in the form of a food pantry, counseling services, and help paying monthly bills. The weak economy has forced Helping Hand to narrow it's billing assistance efforts to those clients using their services for the first time.

"We contact Santee Cooper, see what is due on the bill to keep the electric is on. What we encourage, we can't pay all the bill, we pay a portion" added Buie.

Experts admit that the cold temperatures and a weak economy could force many to fall behind in their payments. However those same experts suggest ways to ensure you don't get your power bill cutoff.

  • Santee Cooper and Horry Electric will not shutoff power to any customers while the temperature remains 32 degrees or below.
  • Santee Cooper and Horry Electric offer payment plans for customers who fall behind, in order to ensure continual service.

Both companies recommend contacting them at the first sign of trouble with payment. The longer you wait, the harder it may be for the companies to offer assistance. Santee Cooper and Horry Electric encourage customers who wish to change their billing setup to contact them directly.

Horry Electric can be reached by calling: 843-369-2211

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