Need help paying your bill?
Food, water, and shelter are the three necessities of life. But, in today's society, electricity can be essential to survival as well. If you find yourself unable to pay your utility bill, it can feel like you have nowhere to turn. Fortunately, you are not on your own. Many organizations and programs exist to provide bill payment assistance.
There are many utility assistance programs available nationwide. They range from government programs to community action agencies, to religious organizations all working to help people in need of assistance. The United States government provides a program called LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) that exists to help families with energy costs. Many other organizations provide assistance as well; a list of some of the more trusted organizations is below:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/liheap/about
- Salvation Army: https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/usc/utility_assistance/
- US Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/liheap/about
- USA.gov: https://www.usa.gov/help-with-bills
- Catholic Charities of America: https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/find-help/
- Net Wish: http://netwish.org/
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides home weatherization assistance for low-income families, particularly for the elderly, people with disabilities and children, by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. WAP is coordinated through community action agencies which are responsible for each of the state's 46 counties. For general information, contact the Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity at (803) 734-0662.
- SC Weatherization Assistance Program and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- Community Action Agencies Contact Information
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Clearinghouse
- US DOE Weatherization Assistance Program
Berkeley Electric programs
It may sound counterintuitive, but paying for electricity before you use it can help families budget better, and prevent you from using more power than you can afford. Additional benefits of the program are that it does not require deposits costing hundreds of dollars and there are no late fees. With daily alerts on how much energy you used and how much money is left on your account, Pay-As-You-Go is a great way to help keep your budget on track.
Berkeley Electric offers two methods of budget billing. The Fixed Budget Billing plan creates a "fixed" amount where the member pays the same amount each month with a "settle-up" month once a year. This amount is determined by looking at the previous year's electricity usage and creating an average amount. Alternatively, with the Levelized Billing program, you can guard against large fluctuations in your electric bill caused by changes in the weather. Your bill each month is based on the average of the previous 12 months. Because a "rolling average" method is used, your amount due may change somewhat from month to month, but the program is designed so that the change won't usually be a large amount. Learn more about budget billing and our other payment options.
Late Payment Arrangements
As your local not-for-profit electric cooperative, we realize that life can be complicated. If you are unable to pay your bill on time, members can make payment arrangements by contacting their local district office or through our Smarthub app. Members choosing this option can extend their bills up to 7 days past the cutoff date and will be sent an email confirmation when the arrangement is made. They will also receive a reminder e-mail at noon the day before the arrangement is due. This can help in situations where you received one unexpectedly high bill and need time to pay it down.
Participating members agree to have their electric bill rounded to the next highest dollar amount. These funds are used to help fellow cooperative members who need critical repairs made to their homes. The amount "rounded-up" on each participating customer's bill averages a total of $6 per year and members can opt-out at any time. The monthly billing statement shows how much is being donated each month, along with a year-end statement. The amount contributed to Operation Round Up® is tax-deductible as tax laws permit. Operation Round-Up funds are available to both residential members and local organizations. Learn more about Operation Round-up.
In addition to federal and state programs, there are a number of local agencies that can provide funding and assistance to members. For a full listing of local agencies visit our Community Services page.