No South Carolinian
deserves to have their
power turned off
during a crisis

We’re calling for a moratorium on utility disconnects during the pandemic and for South Carolina to address energy poverty.

The Issue

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected the lives of South Carolinians. Not only are hundreds of thousands of South Carolina residents now or were at some point unemployed, our state’s economy has not permitted workers to work the same hours or at the same jobs as they were prior to the pandemic. People are struggling to stay in their homes, let alone keep the lights on in those homes.

To make matters worse, South Carolina has historically been a state with a significant energy burden on its residents, meaning that South Carolinians pay more to utility providers than people in other states.

Mixing energy poverty with a global pandemic isn’t pretty, and now millions of South Carolina residents are facing unprecedented challenges.

South Carolina Connected in Crisis is committed to not only raising awareness for the issues South Carolinians are facing but also to mobilizing support to ensure that the South Carolina Public Service Commission is acting in the best interest of ratepayers.

Power and air conditioning are among the most fundamental necessities for homes in our state. If utility providers are permitted to cut the cord on South Carolinians, health and wellness issues already exacerbated by COVID-19 will further put the lives of residents at stake.

Solutions

We believe shutoffs and late payments should remain suspended until utilities and the S.C. Public Service Commission more fully understands the economic impacts of COVID-19 on utility customers and potential means to address them.

We also believe it is time for South Carolina to address energy poverty among its residents, providing both short and long term solutions that provide lower bills, less electricity use, and cleaner sources.The S.C. Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating investor-owned utilities (like Duke Energy and Dominion Energy) so that it acts in the interest of customers and provides ways for people to lower their bills - like energy efficiency programs to reduce the amount of electricity homes and businesses use. The Public Service Commission also has the ability to give customers options when it comes to energy sources regardless of income or living situation - like community solar programs to give customers access to local, clean solar energy even if they rent, live in multi-tenant buildings, or don’t have the means to invest in residential solar.

Clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and community solar can provide short and long term relief to South Carolinians suffering from energy poverty and provide for immediate options to lower bills and address debt. The Public Service Commission has the opportunity to take action on this important issue and serve their role of protecting the public interest by regulating our state’s monopoly utilities. Let’s work together to lift up communities in South Carolina suffering from energy poverty and pave the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future.

The Public Service Commission serves the people, not our state’s monopoly utilities’ bottom line. Let’s work together to make sure their judgments reflect that.

Recent News

‘More uncertainty’: Beaufort Co. residents could lose power as utility restarts disconnections

The Island Packet September 13, 2020

The bills were stacking up for Rebecca Scoon. A single mom in Beaufort, Scoon hadn’t lost her job to COVID-19, but the pandemic still upended her regular expenses this summer.

Commentary: Congress must address the coming utility bill crisis

The Post and Courier September 8, 2020

Like all Americans, it is our hope that with a vaccine or effective treatment, we can get the coronavirus pandemic under control in 2021 and return to normalcy.

Utilities response to the pandemic — heads - shareholders win; tails - consumers lose

Utility Dive August 24, 2020

Knowing that the loss of jobs would make it almost impossible for residential and small business customers to pay their utility bills, governors around the country attempted to protect consumers from utility shut-offs by issuing executive orders pausing disconnections and ordering reconnections.

3 ways utilities can help low-income families impacted by COVID-19

Utility Dive August 24, 2020

COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on low-income households. Living paycheck to paycheck, millions of Americans already faced uncertainty.

Duke Energy wants SC customers to eventually pay for fees it waived during pandemic

The Post and Courier August 19, 2020

Duke Energy, which supplies power to the Pee Dee and the Upstate, is signaling that it could ask customers to pay for the late fees it waived due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New York's Heat-Vulnerable Neighborhoods Need to Go Green to Cool Off

Inside Climate News August 18, 2020

The city sees itself as a climate leader, but organizers in those communities say its response to the ravages of climate change has been far from adequate.

Dominion’s past-due power bills from pandemic hit $116 million

Energy Central August 17, 2020

Dominion Energy customers’ unpaid electricity bills after a state-ordered moratorium on disconnections totaled $116.6 million as of June 30, the State Corporation reported Friday.

Dominion Energy intends to raise SC utility rates for first time since nuclear fiasco

The State July 13, 2020

As a viral pandemic sweeps the state, Dominion Energy is signaling its intent to raise rates on customers for the first time since acquiring SCE&G, the beleaguered utility that engineered one of the biggest construction failures in South Carolina history.

Duke Energy will lower electric bills this fall, but legal challenge could raise them again

Post and Courier June 31, 2020

Duke Energy will lower customers’ electric bills this coming fall based on fuel costs. Meanwhile, a separate legal challenge that would raise bills is making its way through the court system.

Electricity prices are highest in Hawaii but expenditures are highest in South Carolina

U.S. Energy Information Administration February 13, 2018

Hawaii has the highest residential electricity prices in the United States, averaging 27.5 cents per kilowatthour (kWh) in 2016—more than twice the national average. However, residential customers in four states spent more per household for electricity that year: South Carolina, Alabama, Connecticut, and Maryland. In South Carolina, the average residential electricity customer spent $1,753 for electricity in 2016, about $400 more than the U.S. average and almost twice as much as the average customer in New Mexico.

Dominion, Duke, Santee Cooper among SC utilities halting shutoffs for coronavirus outbreak

The Post and Courier March 13, 2020

Several utilities in South Carolina are giving customers a break if they fall behind on their monthly bills, ensuring any financial distress caused by the novel coronavirus won’t limit people’s access to gas, water and electricity.

‘Getting to the bare bones’: Beaufort Co. families struggle with utility bills during COVID-19

The Island Packet August 2, 2020

Electricity ratepayers in Beaufort County who are reeling from COVID-19's economic fallout could be in for a rough September.

Coalition of Over 500 Faith Leaders Demand Utility Shutoff Moratorium During Pandemic

Common Dreams July 30, 2020

Over 500 faith leaders representing different religious backgrounds on Thursday called on Congress to ensure the next legislative coronavirus aid package include a moratorium on utility shutoffs for the duration of the pandemic.

How electricity deepens the South's racial divide

E&E News August 6, 2020

Nationwide protests over racial injustice in recent weeks are stirring a fight against a deep-rooted energy gap in U.S. households.

'Tidal Wave' Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat

South Carolina Public Radio July 28, 2020

Wykeisha Howe is trying to be thrifty. When her kids are uncomfortable in the sweltering Atlanta heat, she gives them freeze pops. Instead of cranking up the air conditioner, she uses a fan. Lunch and dinner are cooked at the same time, so the electric stove doesn't have to be turned on twice.

'Tidal Wave' Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat

NPR July 28, 2020

Wykeisha Howe is trying to be thrifty. When her kids are uncomfortable in the sweltering Atlanta heat, she gives them freeze pops. Instead of cranking up the air conditioner, she uses a fan. Lunch and dinner are cooked at the same time, so the electric stove doesn't have to be turned on twice.

SC utilities to stop cutting services amid coronavirus fears after McMaster request

The State March 16, 2020

Duke Energy will lower customers’ electric bills this coming fall based on fuel costs. Meanwhile, a separate legal challenge that would raise bills is making its way through the court system.

Share Your Support

We make every effort to provide reliable and up-to-date information for South Carolina residents. If you have any corrections, additions or questions you’d like us to consider, please send them to info@scconnectedincrisis.org.

Scroll to Top