Associated Press - January 14, 2011 6:05 PM ET
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Electric and Gas says its customers could see higher bills after setting a new peak record for winter power use.
South Carolina's largest private utility said its customers used 4,872 megawatts of electricity during the 8 a.m. hour Friday. That broke the previous record of 4,720 megawatts set on Jan. 11, 2010.
During times of extreme cold, SCE&G says electric heat pumps use help from auxiliary heat sources to maintain a comfortable temperature. That auxiliary heat can cost up to three times more to operate.
Last month, Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy said its Carolinas customers had set a winter record as temperatures in the area fell to 11 degrees. That tied the record low for Dec. 14, set in 1917.