Many Midlands residents are struggling to pay high heating bills, an unwanted legacy of the area's fourth-coldest winter.
It could be worse. But that's little comfort for Monica Davis. Her two-month power bill, since Jan. 1, was nearly $530 despite new windows and weatherstripping that lowered energy use at her home in Cayce.
"It's put a financial strain on me," she said. "I don't know how I'm going to get it paid."
A local charity chipped in $150 to help, but "resources are scarce," said Davis, who attends Columbia College as part of a midlife career change.
High bills also are putting the heat on South Carolina Electric & Gas. That Cayce-based utility is seeking a $197.6 million electric rate hike that, by July 2011, would add $11.69 a month to the average residential bill.