Panicked over high power bill? Help is available

Published: Jan. 8, 2014 at 9:16 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 9, 2014 at 12:48 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - We shivered and survived several days of record cold in the Lowcountry.

Now it's time to get ready for some sticker shock when your electric bill comes in the mail.

"Colder weather, people's bills go up and we expect that," said Kim Asbill with South Carolina Electric and Gas Company. "The weather is cold and when they run their heating systems, it does put a toll on the bill."

That's bad news for Jennifer Carpenter of Ladson.

I just recently lost my job before Christmas and it was like, oh not one more thing on my plate to deal with," said Carpenter.

Even without a job, Carpenter says she still has to heat her home to deal with the record cold.

She knows what's coming next.

"Unfortunately, I'm looking for a big bill to come in. I'm like ugh!!"

Carpenter knows she has to pay the piper even if she can't afford to.

"At this point, I'm not looking forward to seeing that bill," she said. "Just call them ahead of time. Look, I'm having problems can you help me out?"

Asbill says the utility can help carpenter out and anyone else who has trouble paying their bill.

She says a payment plan can be worked out. It can be done by phone or in person.

"A lot of people just want to ignore it. Maybe it will go away. That doesn't happen. They need to call us and just say, I'm having trouble this month and we really need the help," Asbill explained.

That's music to Jennifer Carpenter's ears.

"We'll do whatever we can to pay a little here, and hopefully the electric company will work with us," she said.

Officials with Berkeley Electric Co-op and Santee Cooper told us they also will work with customers who will have problems paying their power bills.

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