The State (South Carolina; Manufactured Homes)
March 3, 2010
CHARLESTON - Customers with the state's electric cooperatives, including those in Dorchester County, could receive new appliances, weather-proofing upgrades and heat pumps to make their homes more energy efficient.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina have $3.3 million to spend on the study of different cost-effective energy solutions in more than 1,200 homes, especially manufactured homes.
Customers can apply to participate in the "Help my house" study through April 30. The energy efficiency help available depends on which of the 19 participating cooperatives the customers receives power from.
"We know that energy efficiency can save our members money," Ron Calcaterra, Central Electric's president and CEO, said in a statement. "This study will show us which efficiency measures will give them the biggest bang for their buck. It will also help educate our members on how to use energy more efficiently."
The field tests will generate information that will help utilities and lawmakers craft plans to be more energy efficient in the future.
Customers of Coastal Electric Cooperative - which has a coverage area that is primarily Colleton County but includes parts of Dorchester County - who own manufactured homes can apply for free appliance replacements and a heating and air system replacement or major tune-up at no charge. The grant is available to 50 homes.
Edisto Electric Cooperative also serves portions of Dorchester County. Customers who live in that coverage area can apply for one of 100 free in-home displays. The displays communicate with the meter and calculate how much electricity was used for the day and since the last electric bill, and how much the energy has cost.
Berkeley Electric Cooperative serves customers in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, but the homes that will participate in the study have already been selected. However, residents in those counties can apply for weatherization through the Charleston County Human Services Commission. Availability depends on income guidelines.
The co-op study is primarily aimed at making the state's manufactured homes more energy efficient. South Carolina has the nation's highest percentage of manufactured homes.
Manufactured homes make up nearly 20 percent of all housing in the state and 24 percent of the housing served by the cooperatives. The state Energy Office put up most of the money for the grant, which is part of $68 million federal stimulus cash designated to reduce energy costs, increase renewable energy sources and create jobs. Central Electric kicked in $400,000.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina operate the state's largest electric power system, serving more than 1.5 million residents in all 46 counties.
The cooperatives are also working on a plan to allow their customers, including renters and landlords, to take out low-interest loans to fund energy improvements at their homes that can be paid off with savings on their electric bills.