Press Release: South Carolina Voters Struggling with Utility Bills and Want Help
by Conservation Voters of SC on Dec 15, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2020
POLL: South Carolina Voters Struggling with Utility Bills and Want Help
One in three South Carolinians have had difficulty paying bills during the pandemic. Nine in 10 support waiving late fees for missed utility bills, preventing utility shutoffs.
COLUMBIA, SC – A new poll released today finds that since the start of the pandemic, one in three South Carolinians struggle to pay their utility bills, a problem most say has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The poll was commissioned by Conservation Voters of South Carolina as part of the Connected in Crisis campaign – a collaborative effort that seeks to shine a spotlight on the intersection of the coronavirus pandemic, economic insecurity, and utility bills. The poll was conducted by Nexus Polling between November 10-17.
● multi-generational (66%) compared to single generation (24%) households
● single-parent households (51%) compared to multi-parent (30%) households
● Black (45%) households compared to white households (26%)
● Low income (41%) households compared to middle income (25%) or high income (23%) households
Given the increased economic stress South Carolinians are experiencing, there is very high support in the Palmetto State for alleviating the financial burden on struggling ratepayers across all demographic and income levels.
“South Carolinians are struggling and need immediate relief from rising energy bills,” said John Tynan, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina. “Our state leaders must act now to stop bills from piling up while also providing opportunities for ratepayers to reduce their bills over time through proven efficiency, weatherization, and clean energy programs.”
There is strong support for addressing short-term utility bill challenges by waiving late fees for customers who have missed bills during the pandemic (91%), preventing utility companies from disconnecting water and power during the pandemic (87%), and either state assistance with (84%) or utilities forgiving debt (59%) accumulated since the start of the pandemic.
To reduce the long-term impact of high energy bills, more than eight in 10 (82%) South Carolina voters expressed interest in programs to lower their bills through energy efficiency programs, such as the state providing credits and rebates for energy efficiency and weatherization improvements. There was also strong support for expanding clean and renewable energy (78%) across the state, with 71% supporting a transition to a 100% clean energy economy in South Carolina by 2050, citing environmental benefits and cost savings as the top benefits to increasing South Carolina’s clean energy production.
For more detail on the poll results, please see the poll toplines.
Nexus Polling, in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, conducted a representative survey of 532 registered voters in South Carolina on November 10-17, 2020. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level.
Conservation Voters of South Carolina is a bipartisan, statewide, nonprofit organization that fights for clean air, water, and land in South Carolina by holding elected leaders directly accountable for a safe and healthy South Carolina. Learn more at cvsc.org.