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Average Electric Bill in South Carolina and How to Lower it?

Average Electric Bill in SC

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Are you wondering about the cost of the average electric bill in SC? If you’re like most Americans, then you’re probably concerned with pinching pennies and doing what you can to lower the cost of your electricity. With a record-breaking winter and a fast-approaching summer, we’re all a little concerned about what to expect from our utility companies. There’s also climate change and global warming to worry about, and science backs it up. It’s getting hotter each year, and experts warn that 2021 might be the hottest year ever.

What’s the plan when that happens? Well, most people are going to crank up their air conditioner, which will ultimately result in even higher energy costs. Of course, we’re not implying that you should forgo the A/C for the summer and take your chances with the heat. When it comes to dealing with the sun and the rising cost of electricity, it can feel a little bit hopeless. Fortunately, there are options.

It all starts with looking at those numbers on the electric bill and understanding where they come from. Of course, we’re not talking about the large number at the top of the bill. We’re referring to the smaller itemized numbers listed after the bill summary. Let’s break it down.

What’s the Average Electric Bill in South Carolina?

According to the South Carolina Government website, the average electricity bill in 2019 for South Carolina residents was $144.73. That’s the fourth-highest in the country, just behind Hawaii, Connecticut, and Alabama. Based on a report from Numbeo.com, in the same year, the average electric bill was $162.16 for a 915-sq ft home in Columbia and $168.42 in Greenville.

That is higher than the national average, which is only $111.67 per month. That’s also not to say the average SC resident pays $144.73 in the summer. That’s just the average for the entire year. You can expect the rates during the summer months to be significantly higher than that, especially in 2021.

If you’re a South Carolina resident who wants to lower your electric bill, there are so many things you have to consider. You have to think about the style of roof you have, the efficiency of your air conditioner, the age and size of your home, the type of insulation in your walls, and much more. Many of these problems can be expensive to fix, but there are cheaper alternatives out there, so don’t lose hope just yet. We’ve researched and found a few ideas to help you save as much money as possible on your South Carolina electric bill. Let’s take a look!

Saving Money on Your Electricity Bill in South Carolina

Before you begin proactively taking measures to lower your South Carolina electric bill, it’s essential to look at the areas in your home that use the most electricity. Taking an inventory of your energy usage is absolutely crucial. So, start by “auditing” your electric bill. Take notes, look closely at the items that consume the most electricity, and tackle those problem areas first. 

It’s simple enough to eliminate or decrease your energy usage by focusing on one item at a time. If your refrigerator uses too much electricity, check the temperature and make sure it’s running correctly. If your washing machine and dryer are using too much energy, maybe consider altering your laundry schedule to decrease your usage. If your air conditioner is running high, make sure you replace the air filter. 

HVAC systems are notoriously high maintenance and require a keen eye to keep in check. If the machine is running properly, maybe raise the temp a few degrees and see how that feels. It’s important to test your own limits. Obviously, you don’t want to be miserable, but a little bit can go a long way.

Beyond that, there are also smart light bulbs available on the market that use less energy. Wait until your dishwasher is packed before running it. And, of course, remember to turn off lights and appliances when you aren’t using them. Every little bit counts.

If this is too difficult to maintain, it might be worth it to look into converting your home into a smart home. They help make your home more energy-efficient, and there are companies all over South Carolina that offer smart home installation at reasonable prices. Another option to consider is making the switch to solar energy. There’s nothing quite like taking your $200 South Carolina electric bill and reducing it to zero.

Electric Companies in South Carolina

Electricity works differently depending on your particular state. Some states have a regulated energy market, and some states have a deregulated market. In a regulated state, there are only a select number of companies that control the entire market for any given area. These areas can range in size. 

These electric companies are responsible for the entire state’s electrical needs, including generating power, maintaining the grid, and handling energy distribution to homes. In states that are regulated, residents don’t get to choose their provider. Their provider is selected for them. 

Most states within the United States are regulated, including the majority of the Northwest, Southeast, and Western parts of the country. The most significant benefit to regulation is that electricity rates are set by a commission that predetermines the cost of electricity. This typically results in stable prices that don’t constantly shift throughout the year. States like California are split, meaning some parts are regulated, and some parts are deregulated.

On the other hand, deregulated states have no utility commission that dictates what happens in the market. Any private company can purchase and distribute energy to customers across these states. The benefit is that it gives customers a choice and creates a competitive market, which might result in lower prices. The downside to this is that there’s no one overseeing these prices, so if companies raise rates in tandem, there’s no limit to what they can charge. 

Is South Carolina Deregulated?

South Carolina is a regulated state. Surprisingly, though, there are quite a few electric companies and cooperatives in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina government website, there are 6 utility companies and 21 cooperatives.

The utility companies are Progress Energy, Duke Power Company, Heath Springs Light & Power, Lockhart Power Company, and South Carolina Electric & Gas Company. These companies only make up a fraction of the state’s electricity distribution, as most of the state is powered by cooperatives. 

A cooperative is a non-profit organization owned and run by the people who use the electricity they generate. Their primary goal is to deliver a reliable energy source, stable jobs, and consistent service to their communities. Some notable cooperatives in the state are Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Santee Electric Cooperative (Santee Cooper), Laurens Electric Cooperative, Lynches Electric Cooperative, Aiken Electric Cooperative, and Horry Electric Cooperative.

Average Electric Bill in SC

The Rising Cost of Electricity

The heat isn’t the only thing on the rise in 2021. Based on reports from experts in the energy field, we should expect to see a 2.8 percent increase in electricity costs from 2020 to 2021. This comes after a decade of increased electricity costs directly related to natural gas and our dependence on oil. In fact, the only slowdown we saw in the last decade was from the fracking boom, but that was a surge that was very short-lived. 

What’s even more interesting about this is that while electricity prices are on the rise, the cost of renewable energy is going down. This isn’t that surprising, though, because there have been many significant technological advancements in renewable energy over the last ten years. As our technology becomes more advanced, the renewable energy sector gets more attention and investment, increasing advancement. As a result, if you’re looking to lower the cost of your electric bill, switching to solar energy might be the right choice for you.

Save Money by Switching to Solar in SC

[Is solar energy worth it in South Carolina?] To answer that question, it’s important to look at the cost of solar installation in South Carolina. Then we have to compare those prices to the average electric bill in South Carolina. Let’s start there.

If your average electric bill in South Carolina is $144 (rounding to the nearest dollar), then you’re paying about $1,728 a year. In ten years (not even including how much electricity prices are expected to rise), you’ll end up paying $17,280 in electricity per year.

On the solar side, let’s assume that you purchase a 5-kilowatt solar panel system for $15,000. If you reduce that price by the state and federal tax credits available, which would be $3,500 (state) and $3,900 (federal), that number drops to $7,600. Since it takes, on average, 8 years to pay back a solar panel system, and assuming you purchase a system that completely powers your home, you’ll end up only paying $7,600 over the next ten years, which is almost $10,000 in savings.

Of course, that’s just doing the math for ten years, but solar panel systems can last up to 30 years. So, how much money would you save after 30 years? Well, if you don’t switch to solar energy, your electricity cost will be roughly around $51,840 over the next 3 decades. For solar, your bill would still be only $7,600. It doesn’t take a environmental scientist to understand how much money you can save by switching to solar energy.

Final Thoughts

The average electricity bill in South Carolina is $144.73 per month. That’s higher than the national average, and that money adds up. With increasingly volatile weather conditions and the rising cost of electricity, it’s in your best interest to do something to lower the amount of electricity you’re using and make your home more energy-efficient. Of course, there are alternatives that you can consider, like installing a smart home or switching to solar energy, which could save you a bundle. The choice is yours. 

Sources:

Infocast

Energywatch 

Electric Choice 

Dave Ramsey

Forbes 

Statista 

Your Weather 

Energy.SC.Gov 

Smart Asset 

Energy.SC.Gov