Mild temps cause for rise in power bills

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - In the 13 years Erica Oblinger has lived on James Island she says she has never seen a power bill as expensive as the one she just got in the mail, especially at this time of year. But power provider SCE&G says the bill is just reflecting the weather.

"I expect big electricity bills in Charleston during the summer because it's a thousand degrees," said Oblinger outside of her James Island home Thursday. "But in the winter I was expecting them to go down, you know, get a break."

Under the sun for most of the winter season, the Holy City has all but escaped the cold which is why with her windows open and thermostat off Oblinger is puzzled how her power bill is rising with the temperature.

"We have energy saving appliances and it's just me and my husband," she says. "My bill when I open it up should be a hundred dollars cheaper or it should definitely go down or not be the same price. It should not be $25 to $50 more."

According to officials at SCE&G, the bills are directly affected by the weather.

"Customers are charged for the energy that they use at a rate that's adjusted to reflect normal temperatures," said Eric Boomhower, Public Affairs manager for the power comp nay. "Collectively our customers have paid about $90 million less for their electricity that they would have if they had not had the eWNA system in place."

According to Boomhower, the eWNA system was put in place after power bills for customers went through the roof in the icy month of January in 2010.

The goal is to balance out customers payments by balancing prices throughout the year by making the temperature spikes less expensive.

Boomhower said eWNA is in place to protect against those extremes.

Blazing summers and chilly winters won't cost customers as much but mild temps may turn up the heat on your wallet.

"Even if their usage is down, which is to be expected because we are in milder weather, the difference in the dollar amount of their bill is not what they're expecting to see based on what their reduced usage is," said Boomhower.

Boomhower says this month customers will collectively paid several million dollars more because of the weather.

The system finds the normal temperature rate for the pay period and compares it to average temperatures from that month over the last 15 years.

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