Winter storm may leave behind a pricey electric bill - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Winter storm may leave behind a pricey electric bill

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The winter storm may have been a big shock for the Grand Strand and the Pee Dee, but residents will still be dealing with the effects on the next electric bill. Power companies say you should expect to pay more.

More days than usual in January came in below normal temperatures, and several days were even 20 degrees lower than what we're used to. Because of the drop, your heating system had to do more to keep you warm, which translates to you paying more. Horry Electric did a sampling, and found that people used an average of 50 percent more electricity in January than they did the month before.

Some area power companies are warning their customers, so they won't be surprised when they check the mail. One homeowner says he's preparing himself now.

"It's only for a month or two," said homeowner David Butler. "And I think most of us hopefully can afford that. If it was year-round it would be a problem, but yeah, we're concerned about the heat."

The thermostat isn't the only culprit. The fact that people were stuck in their homes for a few days during the winter storm means they were using more electricity throughout the day.

While this may be a loss this month, there are some ways to save on the next bill. Santee Cooper representatives gave some tips. Studies show 68 degrees is the temperature that requires the least amount of energy. When you're away from home, turn it to 55 degrees. By turning your thermostat down just 10 or 15 degrees for 8 hours, you can save up to 15 percent.

If you're going to use additional heating, like space heaters and electric blankets, only use it for small amounts of time because it can add on to your bill. And you've heard the phrase "heat rises to the top", well there's a way to bring it back down. If you have ceiling fans in your home, turn it clockwise, and then it will push the warm air back your direction.

These are just some of the constant things you can do to keep your electricity bill in a reasonable price range. But the up and down monthly bills has one man paying in a different way, so he doesn't have to go along for the ride.

"You can kind of average out per season what your bill is going to be every month," said James Littlejohn, who prepays his electric bill. "So I just decided to put a few hundred on it and they'll let me know when I get down to $50. Hopefully it won't be tomorrow though."

Some power companies, like Horry Electric, have ways where you can check your daily usage rate online: https://myenergy.horryelectric.com/oscp/

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