Green Living: Energy Saving Tips from Santee Cooper Green Use Your Thermostat Wisely

September 13, 2008

MONCKS CORNER, SC – September 12, 2008 – The average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and nearly half of that goes to heating and cooling our homes. But if we were to spend a little more time getting acquainted with our thermostats, we could make some significant slices in the heating and cooling portion of our bill.

“Many of us keep our thermostats at room temperature [72º] during the warm months without giving it another thought,” says Jill Watts, director of customer communications. “But homeowners who are a little more flexible with their thermostat settings will find they can save some money without sacrificing comfort.”

As a more efficient alternative, Santee Cooper recommends a cooling range of 78º-80º or higher and a heating range of 66-68º or lower.

For homes with heat pumps, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends raising your thermostat 10º-15º if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, but only when your heat pump is in cooling mode.

“In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat will save energy and money,” says Watts. “But these rules don’t apply when a heat pump is in its heating mode. Instead, it’s best to keep a moderate and consistent setting around 66º-68º.”

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility and the state’s largest power producer, supplying electricity to more than 162,000 retail customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties, as well as to 29 large industrial facilities, the cities of Bamberg and Georgetown, and the Charleston Air Force Base. Santee Cooper also generates the power distributed by the state’s 20 electric cooperatives to more than 685,000 customers in all 46 counties. Approximately 2 million South Carolinians receive their power directly or indirectly from Santee Cooper. The utility also provides water to 137,000 consumers in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, and the town of Santee. For more information, visit For information on how Santee Cooper lives green and how you can go green, visit