Advocate Stories, COVID-19, Economic Opportunity, News

SC Connected in Crisis

by Deitra Matthews, Conservation Voters of S.C. on Oct 12, 2020

The phrase “energy poverty” may sound strange, but it’s a vivid reality for far too many here in South Carolina.

Energy poverty is reached when a household can no longer afford to pay the full cost of its utility bills and is instead forced to make difficult and often unhealthy decisions. 

In our efforts with the S.C. Connected in Crisis campaign, we’ve been collecting stories from residents across the state that provide real-life experiences for what energy poverty looks like. 

We heard from Kathleen A. from Florence who shared, “My utility bill is $169 for the month for a 2-bedroom apartment. I have to keep it at 74 because I have a history of heat exhaustion. I’d much rather keep it at 72 or 70, but I can’t afford it.” 

These stories are far too common for families across South Carolina.

S.C. Connected in Crisis is the collaborative effort of a diverse group of entities working to elevate the stories of South Carolinians facing every level of energy insecurity. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the health, safety, and budgets of families in our state. 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.

It is our hope that the S.C. Public Service Commission will address energy poverty among its residents, providing both short and long-term solutions that provide lower bills, less electricity use, and cleaner sources.

Share your story about how energy bills have affected your family:

Take action and join the movement to lift up communities in South Carolina suffering from energy poverty:

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