End of power bill adjustment has some concerned - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

End of power bill adjustment has some concerned

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The end of the normalization plan has some concerned. The end of the normalization plan has some concerned.
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC -

There could be some changes coming to your power bill at the beginning of next year.

Wednesday, SCE&G announced plans to end its Weather Normalization Action plan. This comes after the Office of Regulatory Staff released a report supporting the end of the plan, which they said was complicated.

"Theoretically, I think it has merit, but what we found was that it was too complicated. Some parts didn't make any sense," executive director of the agency Dukes Scott said.

SCE&G agreed to end the plan once the report was released.

According to that report, there were 189 complaints made from consumers since 2010, the year the program was started after unseasonably cold temperatures caused power bills to spike.

Some of the people who complained were concerned over the fact that SCE&G was the only agency computing the rate that was charged. Others were irritated because they were unable to opt-out of the program. Lastly, many said they couldn't understand the bills.

Now that the plan is over, however, some are concerned about how they may afford their bill.

"It will be much harder, especially for those that are on a fixed income," Richard Brehon said.

Brehon is one of the 3,000 people who gets assistance from the Charleston County Human Services agency to help with paying bills. He heats his one story home in North Charleston using only one heater.

Throughout the week, the colder temperatures means his one heater is working overtime.

"[The heater] has had to stay on at night so the bill really goes up higher," Brehon claimed.

A concerned viewer sent News 2 an email worried about folks like Brehon who are on a fixed income. That viewer wanted to know who is responsible if people can't afford their heat, so they die because of extreme temperatures.

When News 2 asked Scott that question, he declined to comment.

We reached out to SCE&G and asked them the same question. While they deferred to their legal counsel for a direct answer, they did outline their policy with canceling power.

"SCE&G does not disconnect services to its customers if temperatures are forecast to average 32 degrees below over a 48-hour period," Eric Boomhower said in a prepared statement.

The company suggests concerned consumers should use the, "Budget Billing Plan." Basically, this plan takes an average of the annual power bill and divides it by 12, so you would pay the same amount each month. The plan doesn't necessarily lower how much you pay, it is to give you an idea how much you could pay.

While Brehon's heater continued to roar, he said that billing plan won't work for him.

"If it's a bill that's high and you have to pay that on a monthly basis, it will interfere with what must be done as far as your bill is concerned," Brehon said.

The normalization plan officially ends after December. Beginning in January, the power bill will show the actual amount of electricity used.

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